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Ondo and Edo Elections 2020: A Distribution Analysis of Information Disorder via Media Channels


The impact of media technology on democracy is coming under increased scrutiny  all over the world. New media’s disruption of an existing order that is characterized  by the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, made it possible for more people to engage in the political process. However, the disruption  has also created an avenue for a different type of engagement; online manipulation  of narratives on a massive scale. Nefarious actors have devised strategies to turn  these networks into platforms for spreading falsehoods, untruths, misinformation  and outright lies, in order to achieve their aims. It has also opened up a new type  of international conflict, evident in numerous accusations and counter accusations  of cyber interferences between the United States of America and the Republic of  Russia. There is therefore a need to interrogate how this emerging phenomenon  interacts with the bedrock of democratic process, especially elections. 

Polarising and unreliable information by feckless actors and individuals make it difficult, if not impossible for citizens to form a good political judgment on which they  can base their decisions about political participation and this has played out across  the West African sub region. Budding, but extremely fragile democracies such as  Nigeria face significant challenges in responding to the divisiveness and message  manipulations of social network platforms, particularly during elections. This study  looks into two gubernatorial elections (Edo, Ondo) recently held in Nigeria, where  various actors used social networks to feed the electorate misinformation and disinformation, with a view to shaping their voting behaviour.

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