The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD-West Africa has expressed concern on the increasing rate of fake news and disinformation in Northern Nigeria.

Director of the Centre Idayat Hassan raised the concern on Monday while opening a virtual Hackathon on Combating Disinformation and Fake News in Northern Nigeria organised by CDD, Bridge4Innovation, Curator 100 Women in Tech Nigeria and Hackathon International.

Hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

She noted that ” Continuously population of of Nigerians on different social media platforms is increasing by the day, while that is a welcome development for reasons such as political discussion, expression of opinions, accountability, prompt sharing and exchange of information among others , it also portends certain experiences or incidences that require robustful interventions to make the online space safe and peaceful.

Disinformation and fake news surely have repercussions on societal peace and progress”.

Director CDD-West Africa, Idayat Hassan

Ms Hassan further said the Centre is working 24/7 with multiple tools towards converting disinformation and fake news in Nigeria.

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” Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) became concerned about the rising disinformation and fake news incidences not only on social media platforms, or blogspots, but in the mainstream media, and that is the reason it is deploying multiple tools on combating disinformation and fake news in Nigeria, today’s hackathon is one of them”.

Enumerating further what the Centre has done in converting the menace of fake news she said ” For the past two years, CDD has been making efforts to combat disinformation and fake news in Nigeria and recently in Northern Nigeria through fact checking, weekly radio programme, jingles on radio station, social influencers on social media and continuous online campaign, use of native songs to enlighten the populace among others”.

Hackathon will help in converting fake news – CDD

Meanwhile dwelling more on Hackathon, the Director CDD-West Africa, Ms . Idayat Hassan said it will generate ideas from people with diverse opinion on how to convert the menace of fake news in the country.

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” The hackathon which we are kick starting today( Monday) is born out of CDD’s desire to generate concrete and realistic ideas or solutions that will help combat disinformation and fake news particularly in Northern Nigeria”.

She revealed that the Centre has received 200 applications from different people who want to showcase their ideas at the hackathon.

” We believed opening up for ideas and solutions to emerge from variety of people is a good strategy to address fake news, that is the reason we announced call for application to the hackathon months back and received in total, two hundred (200) applications from numerous individuals wanting to showcase their ideas at the hackathon and after review we shortlisted fifty (50) young men and women from Northern Nigeria.

Out of these twenty (20) participants, three (3) best ideas or solutions will be selected by team of expert judges over the next three (3) days of brainstorming sessions”.

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” Prizes have been reserved for the best three (3) ideas that will emerge. The prizes include winning 1000 dollars, opportunity to participate in the regional hackathon as well as fellowship” she added.

Ms. Hassan outlined the areas in which the solution to the problems of fake news will focus on.

” We have realized there are areas where disinformation and fake news are most common and we have restricted the solutions to come from those areas. The areas are:

Fake News, Disinformation and Insecurity
Fake News, Disinformation and Pandemic
Fake News, Disinformation and Elections
Fake News, Disinformation and Governance

We have earlier planned to hold the hackathon in-person, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we resolved to making it virtual.

We hope by the end of the hackathon we will be able to generate solutions that will support our intervention of combating fake news and disinformation in Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large”.

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