Former Minister Lai Mohammed Reveals Personal Toll of Fake News, Advocates for Countermeasures

Former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, revealed the harrowing impact of fake news on his personal life, highlighting its potential to destabilize relationships and undermine trust. Speaking at an event in Lagos commemorating Prof. Wole Soyinka’s 90th birthday, Mohammed recounted how false narratives circulating on social media nearly jeopardized his 40-year-old marriage.

During his presentation on “The Media in the Age of Disinformation,” Mohammed shared the distressing experience of being awakened in the early hours of the morning by his wife, who confronted him with allegations based on misinformation spread online. The accusation, rooted in a fabricated story about government officials amassing wealth in overseas accounts, prompted Mohammed to spend hours debunking the falsehoods and reassuring his wife of his innocence.

Mohammed’s narrative underscored the pervasive influence of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation in contemporary society. He highlighted their detrimental effects on interpersonal relationships, public trust, and democratic processes. Drawing from his tenure as Minister, Mohammed recalled instances of false information targeting government officials, including baseless claims about former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Moreover, Mohammed warned of the continued threat posed by fake news, especially in the context of political campaigns and societal discourse. He cited examples of manipulated content targeting political figures, such as President Bola Tinubu, and emphasized the need for decisive action to combat the spread of false information.

Proposing solutions to address the proliferation of fake news, Mohammed advocated for robust regulatory frameworks to hold social media platforms and intermediaries accountable for amplifying misinformation. He urged platforms to prioritize the integrity of information over profit motives and called for proactive measures to detect and remove harmful content.


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