Influential Nigerians were telling us at the time that we were naïve, we didn't understand the political situation in Nigeria. But they also told us that the story of the Chibok girls was a hoax. Sadly, this hoax narrative has persisted, and there are still people in Nigeria today who believe that the Chibok girls were never kidnapped.
The alternative facts spread and people believed them. They believed that the girls never went missing. Stephanie Busari went to the villages that the girls were taken from and talked to the parents and she says that it was very much a real event. Even to this day, a lot of Nigerians believe that the whole story was a hoax. But after some time the Boko Haram released a video of the girls showing that they had taken them and were still alive. This video sparked a new interest in the topic for the government and they tried to negotiate with the Boko Haram. In the end, 21 girls were released, but still 200 remain missing. This story illustrates the dangerous nature of fake news. After a fake story, the girls were then presumed dead. What we can do, Stephanie says, is read the articles that we are sharing instead of just reading the headline and actually verify if the source is reputable. We need to think of the real life consequences of what could happen if we spread fake news.
But what if we stopped taking information that we discover at face value? What if we stop to think about the consequence of the information that we pass on and its potential to incite violence or hatred? What if we stop to think about the real-life consequences of the information that we share?
Below is another video of how fake news can cause "real harm"