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.