Role of Social Media Platforms in the Spread of Fake News in Nyeri County, Kenya

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.2.21

Keywords:

Elections, Facebook, Fake News, Social Media, Twitter

Abstract

Fake news is widespread in elections, especially during presidential elections. It has the potential to divide public opinion and create a hostile environment in which people feel their voices aren't being heard. The current study aimed to explore the role of social media platforms in the spread of fake news in Nyeri County. The study is anchored in agenda-setting theory. A mixed-methods approach is used. The population comprised adults in Nyeri County, registered journalists, bloggers, and social media experts, as well as politicians in the county. A sample of 195 respondents was calculated using the modified formulas by Fisher. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. Quantitative analysis consisted of frequencies and percentages using Microsoft Excel. The qualitative data collected was analyzed using content analysis with the help of NVIVO software. The results of quantitative analysis were presented in the form of tables and figures, while those of qualitative data analysis were presented using narration. The study found that social media was the main source of fake news. Facebook and Twitter had the highest prevalence of fake news, with 87% and 72% of the respondents indicating that they witnessed fake news on the apps, respectively. The study therefore concluded that social media was the biggest source of fake news in Nyeri County. The study recommended that social media companies, especially Facebook and Twitter, should take more responsibility by implementing laws to protect against the spread of fake news. This can include flagging fake news and implementing tough penalties for users spreading propaganda on the internet.

References

Ali, K., & Zain-ul-abdin, K. (2021). Post-truth propaganda: heuristic processing of political fake news on Facebook during the 2016 US presidential election. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 49(1), 109-128.

https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2020.1847311 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2020.1847311

Allcott, H., Gentzkow, M., & Yu, C. (2019). Trends in the diffusion of misinformation on social media. Research & Politics, 6(2), 20-53. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168019848554 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168019848554

Butler, H. M. K. (2021). College students' perceived ability versus actual ability to identify fake news on agricultural topics (Doctoral Dissertation, Texas Tec University). Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/2346/88708

Cantarella, M., Fraccaroli, N., & Volpe, R. (2023). Does fake news affect voting behaviour? Research Policy, 52(1), 104-628.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2022.104628 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2022.104628

Cantu, F., & Marquez, J. (2021). The effects of election polls in Mexico's 2018 presidential campaign. Electoral Studies, 73(4), 102-379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2021.102379 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2021.102379

Celliers, M., & Hattingh, M. (2020). A systematic review on fake news themes reported in literature. In Responsible Design, Implementation and Use of Information and Communication Technology: 19th IFIP WG 6.11 Conference on e-Business, e-Services, and e-Society, I3E 2020, Skukuza, South Africa, April 6-8, 2020, Proceedings, Part II 19 (pp. 223-234). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-45002-1_19 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-45002-1_19

Chen, Y. N. K., & Wen, C. H. R. (2019). Facebook's Algorithms, Fake News, and Taiwan's 2018 Local Elections. 30th European Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS): "Towards a Connected and Automated Society", Helsinki, Finland, 16th-19th June, 2019. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10419/205174

Del Vicario, M., Bessi, A., Zollo, F., Petroni, F., Scala, A., Caldarelli, G., Stanley, H. E., & Quattrociocchi, W. (2016). The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(3), 554-559. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1517441113 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1517441113

Garett, R., Liu, S., & Young, S. D. (2018). The relationship between social media use and sleep quality among undergraduate students. Information, Communication & Society, 21(2), 163-173.

https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1266374 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1266374

Go, S. G., & Lee, M. R. (2020). Analysis of fake news in the 2017 Korean presidential election. Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research, 8(2), 105-125.

Hattori, G. (2021). The Spread of Fake News: a case study of the presidential elections of 2018 in Brazil (Masters, Dissertation, Vargas Foundation, School of Business Administration of São Paulo, Brazil). Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10438/30800

Hilary, I. O., & Dumebi, O. O. (2021). Social media as a tool for misinformation and disinformation management. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S1), 496-505. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS1.1435 DOI: https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS1.1435

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. (2022). IEBC Annual Report 2021-2022. Retrieved from https://www.iebc.or.ke/uploads/resources/gqNlpLUkQW.pdf

Jalli, N., Jalli, N., & Idris, I. (2019, November). Fake news and elections in Two Southeast Asian Nations: A comparative study of Malaysia general election 2018 and Indonesia presidential election 2019. In International Conference on Democratisation in Southeast Asia (ICDeSA 2019) (pp. 138-148). Atlantis Press.

https://doi.org/10.2991/icdesa-19.2019.30 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2991/icdesa-19.2019.30

Jang, S. M., & Kim, J. K. (2018). Third person effects of fake news: Fake news regulation and media literacy interventions. Computers in Human Behavior, 80(4), 295-302.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.11.034 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.11.034

Kalsnes, B. (2018). Fake news. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.809 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.809

Kim, Y., Kim, Y., & Zhou, S. (2017). Theoretical and methodological trends of agenda-setting theory: A thematic analysis of the last four decades of research. The Agenda Setting Journal, 1(1), 5-22. https://doi.org/10.1075/asj.1.1.03kim DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/asj.1.1.03kim

Lee, T. (2019). The global rise of "fake news" and the threat to democratic elections in the USA. Public Administration and Policy, 22(1), 15-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/PAP-04-2019-0008 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/PAP-04-2019-0008

Luo, H., Cai, M., & Cui, Y. (2021). Spread of misinformation in social networks: Analysis based on Weibo tweets. Security and Communication Networks, 2021, 1-23.

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6697155 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6697155

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5349916 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5349916

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/8090547 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/8090547

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/7999760 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/7999760

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6664578 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6664578

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6902138 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6902138

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/4280328 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/4280328

https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/1263820 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/1263820

Maweu, J. M. (2019). "Fake elections"? Cyber propaganda, disinformation and the 2017 general elections in Kenya. African Journalism Studies, 40(4), 62-76. https://doi.org/10.1080/23743670.2020.1719858 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23743670.2020.1719858

McCombs, M. E., Shaw, D. L., & Weaver, D. H. (2014). New directions in agenda-setting theory and research. Mass Communication and Society, 17(6), 781-802.

https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2014.964871 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15205436.2014.964871

Muhammed T, S., & Mathew, S. K. (2022). The disaster of misinformation: a review of research in social media. International Journal of Data Science and Analytics, 13(4), 271-285. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41060-022-00311-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41060-022-00311-6

Mutahi, P., & Kimari, B. (2020). Fake news and the 2017 Kenyan elections. Communicatio, 46(4), 31-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/02500167.2020.1723662 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02500167.2020.1723662

National Cohesion and Integration Commission. (2022). NCIC Cohesion Today January-March 2022. Retrieved from https://cohesion.go.ke/images/docs/downloads/January_March_2022.pdf

Ong'ong'a, O. (2021). Countering the new media podia: Youth and 'Fake News' in Kenya. Shanlax International Journal of Arts, Science and Humanities, 8(4), 8-12.

https://doi.org/10.34293/sijash.v8i4.3303 DOI: https://doi.org/10.34293/sijash.v8i4.3303

Pennycook, G., & Rand, D. G. (2021). The psychology of fake news. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 25(5), 388-402.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2021.02.007 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2021.02.007

Peterson, E., & Allamong, M. B. (2022). The influence of unknown media on public opinion: Evidence from local and foreign news sources. American Political Science Review, 116(2), 719-733.

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055421001234 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055421001234

Pew Research. (2019). Misinformation. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/topic/news-habits-media/media-society/misinformation/

Portland and GeoPoll. (2019). The Reality of Fake News in Kenya. Retrieved from https://portland-communications.com/pdf/The-Reality-of-Fake-News-in-Kenya.pdf

Protess, D., & McCombs, M. E. (2016). Agenda setting: Readings on media, public opinion, and policymaking. Routledge.

https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315538389 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315538389

Rampersad, G., & Althiyabi, T. (2020). Fake news: Acceptance by demographics and culture on social media. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 17(1), 1-11.

https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2019.1686676 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2019.1686676

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. (2020). Digital News Report 2022. Retrieved from https://www.digitalnewsreport.org/survey/2020/

Rich, M. D. (2018). Truth decay: An initial exploration of the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. Rand Corporation.

Shao, C., Ciampaglia, G. L., Varol, O., Yang, K. C., Flammini, A., & Menczer, F. (2018). The spread of low-credibility content by social bots. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1-9.

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06930-7 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-06930-7

Sharma, A., & Goyal, A. (2018). Tweet, Truth and Fake News: A Study of BJP's Official Tweeter Handle. Journal of Content, Community & Communication, 8(4), 22-28.

https://doi.org/10.31620/JCCC.12.18/05 DOI: https://doi.org/10.31620/JCCC.12.18/05

Shin, J., Jian, L., Driscoll, K., & Bar, F. (2018). The diffusion of misinformation on social media: Temporal pattern, message, and source. Computers in Human Behavior, 83, 278-287.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.02.008 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.02.008

Talwar, S., Dhir, A., Kaur, P., Zafar, N., & Alrasheedy, M. (2019). Why do people share fake news? Associations between the dark side of social media use and fake news sharing behavior. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 51(2), 72-82.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.05.026 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2019.05.026

Talwar, S., Dhir, A., Singh, D., Virk, G. S., & Salo, J. (2020). Sharing of fake news on social media: Application of the honeycomb framework and the third-person effect hypothesis. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 57(3), 102-197.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102197 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2020.102197

Tambini, D. (2017). Fake News: Public Policy Responses. Media Policy Brief 20. London: Media Policy Project, London School of Economics and Political Science.

The African Media Barometer. (2020). A home-grown analysis of the media landscape in Africa: Nigeria 2019. Retrieved from https://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/africa-media/16246.pdf

t'Serstevens, F., Piccillo, G., & Grigoriev, A. (2022). Fake news zealots: Effect of perception of news on online sharing behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 13(2), 01-09. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.859534 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.859534

United Nations Department of Global Communications. (2018). Media use in the Middle East, 2018: A seven-nation survey. Retrieved from https://press.un.org/en/2019/gaef3523.doc.htm

Wang, T. L. (2020). Does Fake News Matter to Election Outcomes?: The Case Study of Taiwan's 2018 Local Elections. Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research, 8(2), 67-104.

Yerlikaya, T., & Aslan, S. T. (2020). Social Media and Fake News in the Post-Truth Era. Insight Turkey, 22(2), 177-196.

https://doi.org/10.25253/99.2020222.11 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25253/99.2020222.11

Downloads

Published

2024-05-01

How to Cite

Munene, M. M., & Oloo, D. (2024). Role of Social Media Platforms in the Spread of Fake News in Nyeri County, Kenya . African Journal of Empirical Research, 5(2), 229–239. https://doi.org/10.51867/ajernet.5.2.21

Most read articles by the same author(s)