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Ondo and Edo  Elections 2020: A Typological Analysis of Information Disorder


Elections, according to Robert A. Pastor, ‘are both the supreme political act and a  complicated administrative exercise at the heart of democracy. Pastor suggests that  democracy is easily compromised where the state structure is viscerally weakened  to points of illegitimacy while its bureaucratic capacity becomes bedraggled as is  the case in fragile and illiberal democracies like Nigeria. The challenges facing  such democracies have been heightened in recent times with the rise of new media  and their use as platforms for creating ‘information disorder’ as a way of affecting  political behaviour and choices.  

Information disorder is categorized into three conceptual frameworks:

  • Misinformation: Information that is false, but not created with the intention  of causing harm. 
  • Disinformation: Information that is false and deliberately created to harm a  person, social group, organization, or country. 
  • Malinformation: Information that is based on reality, used to inflict harm on  a person, organization, or country. 

Information disorder presents a unique challenge for public discourse and information  flow and communication practices – before, during, and after election cycles on a  global scale. Fact-checking organizations and media houses have stepped up to  counter and debunk such information disorder products and narratives. An example  of such an effort is Dubawa.

This study analyzes and studies the typologies present in the information disorder  ecosystem studied by Dubawa during the Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial elections  held on September 19th and October 10th, 2020.  

The report identified that most of the misinformation and disinformation targeted  at the 2020 Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections were executed through diverse  social media platforms two months to the election day. Also notable, was the gradual  increase in the number of misinformation “claims” prior to the election which reached  its peak on the day of the election. 

This report also identified key platforms that were used to share mis/disinformation,  as well as key characters (i.e., claimants) who held and promoted these claims. Given the dynamic nature of information disorder, the report has categorized these  claims into types and established a correlation with the dates (before, after, and on  election day), verdicts.

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