Comedian Waris, Akuma Mama Zimbi, “top journalists” and how fake news spreads in Ghana

We all woke up to the sad news of the “fire” that raged through the top floor of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle office of Ghana Revenue Authority (at least I woke up to the news).

Inasmuch as the news of the fire was sad, it also opened up another avenue for different groups of people on social media.

On one hand, there were the “conspiracy theorists” who alleged that the fire was orchestrated for whatever reason or another. On the other side were writers at the satire website, News7Pm.com, who found the golden opportunity of the fire combined with the views of these conspiracy theorists as the brightest time to publish the article shown below;

satire story about GRA fire on News7PM.com

The above is satire — whether well-meaning or not, it IS satire. The website has enough disclaimers and “satire” branding to make even “first-time” visitors take the “joke” as one — though it can be said, it was a joke in bad taste.

satire disclaimer on News7PM.com

However, the problem arises when “top journalists” and people with renown start sharing the article above on their social media platforms. To most people who follow these “influencers”, whatever they say is usually taken as a fact.

Take for example these posts;

Here’s one by Akumaa Mama Zimbi;

with over 40 shares at the time of this screenshot

Another by journalist Veronica Commey;

There was a third I spotted by OMGVoice — which has been deleted now after close to a 100 comments on their Facebook page. It has been deleted but no communication has been put out to tell their audience of the error.

And here is a fourth one — a video by Comedian Waris — in which he states the satirical news as fact in a way to “rally” Ghanaians to hold the authorities accountable. *Cringe*

And here is another one from Yemmey Baba — who has over 118,000 followers on the platform on which he shared this “fake news” as a fact.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5iBWl0HZUh/

What happens when the likes of the people mentioned above share satire without clearing branding it as such?

Well, the “innocuous or even harmless” satire transmogrifies into “deadly fake news”. Most of the people who come across these shared satire posts would not research further into the “truth” of it but rather take it on face value.

Don’t take my word for it, just run a search on Facebook and Twitter for “GRA 147” and you’d see the results. Below are screenshots I took just now

On Twitter
on Youtube

Over the years, we have been battling the spread of fake news and one of the methods we encourage people to use is “…do your own online search before sharing something, especially if it makes an astounding claim. Look for facts reported by credible news outlets that either back up or refute the central claims in the story at hand. Credible news outlets generally have a reputation for truthful and accurate reporting. They identify specific sources of their information.

Comedian Waris, Akuma Mama Zimbi, “top journalists” and how fake news spreads in Ghana

But what happens when the people who work for these “credible news sources” start sharing “fake news”?.

https://web.facebook.com/sena.rick/posts/2572988402797085

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