Nigeria’s fake news problem, particularly around the 2023 general elections, is expected to worsen in the coming days as Obi’s Twitter campaigners, the primary source of online disinformation and bullying, are plotting to dial up their spread of inciting content to rack up impressions and other metrics.
This is in light of Twitter’s extension of its deal to share revenue with influential users of the platform to Nigeria. Under the deal already active in Western countries such as America, Twitter (now X) allows generators of viral content to partake in the sharing of advert revenue generated from the engagement they spark.
Although it was meant to encourage more active usage of the platform and to compensate users for their engagement efforts, an identified flaw is its potential to reward dangerous antics, including the spread of inflammatory content with hopes that the anger and outrage such content is sure to generate will help it achieve virality.
A number of Obidients on social media have ridden the gullibility of their counterparts to internet fame by feeding them a cocktail of exaggerations, skewed analysis, and outright falsehood about aspects of the last general elections which Obi is contesting in court despite finishing third.
A recent instance is a false claim that former Minister Babatunde Fashola was writing a favorable judgement for the APC before handing the same to the Tribunal judges for endorsement. Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has since filed a defamation suit against Obidients responsible for the falsehood. Those involved are now deleting their accounts in a bid to escape the looming legal trouble.
With Twitter offering monetary rewards to users with high traffic, prominent members of the Obi support base are relying on their cult-like hold on the rest of the supporters to increase their chances of raking in cash in shared revenue by spiking their engagements with false and triggering information.
They are expected to spread usual lies about Obi’s purported victory at the courts despite the repeated argument of legal experts that his case has little chance of success. They will also escalate their onslaught against the judiciary, with claims that members of the bench are in bed with partisan groups and individuals and biased against their candidate.
Already, those yet to meet Twitter’s requirement for the revenue sharing deal are rallying the base to increase their followers’ count and impression figures.