REGULATING SOCIAL MEDIA AS A WAY OF CHECKING HATE SPEECH IN NIGERIA
The 21st century can be described as the age of information technology. Technology runs almost all human endeavours. In recent times, Hate speeches have swerved from the use of traditional word of mouth to the use of social media. One of the major challenges of electioneering in the 21st century is that, due to the faceless nature of the internet, social media spreads propaganda, false information, and hate speeches, these go viral and are used to manipulate the population. This paper examines regulating social media as a way of checking hate speech.
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The emergence of globalization has made the world a global village as proposed by Marshall McLuhan. This therefore necessitated the creation of information communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate the globalization of the world. This consequently, brought about the conception of social media platforms to further connect people all over the world via, information. Social media as a product of global revolution, and an end product of globalization has in turn, brought about social and political changes in the world. It is important to point out here that social media is not a new concept. There have been a good number of social media platforms before Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. Some of these platforms include Classmates, Six degrees, and Ryze. Meanwhile, the 21stcentury has witnessed the evolution of new forms of social media networks powered by the internet, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, internet service among others. “The emergence of these new forms of social media revolutionised many aspects of human communication. Thus, social media have become a natural part of the everyday lives of people all over the world” (Ajayi & Adesote, 2015: 48). Allen (2012) and Scholz (2008) have argued that “social media applications are not new and that their origins can be traced to years earlier than 2005. They further added that Blogs were already around at the end of the 1990’s, the wiki technology was suggested by Ward Cunningham in 1994 and first released in 1995; social networking sites already existed in 1995 and Google was founded in 1999” (Cited in Fuchs, 2014:34). This implies that social media is not as new as people have been made to understand.
With the evolving of the Internet applications, came the invention of social media to further foster socialization and connectivity of individuals from one end of the world to another. However, “the use of social media has gone beyond connecting with friends and family, entertaining, or mere socializing. It was and is still being used as a tool to disseminate information that has in turn led to political changes in the world. The emergence of social media is a phenomenon that has transformed the interaction, communication and sharing of information between people throughout the world in the 21st century” (Ajayi & Adesote, 2015).
In recent times, many countries in Africa have also experienced growth in the use of Social Media in politics and this also led to an increase in hate speech due to increase availability of the internet. “Social Media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are amongst the most visited websites in Nigeria. Due to their participatory, interactive, and cost-effective nature, they have become veritable instruments for carrying out hate speech propaganda ” (Ajayi & Adesote, 2015:48).
However, regardless of the positive effects of social media, it has been observed that the social media has aided unreliable source of information, fake news as well as bad mouthing especially during election periods. Furthermore, the social media also promote hate speeches and violence which eventually affect the peace of the community.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Hate speech on social media hardly remains unnoticed. Contents involving hateful messages vary and could target anyone irrespective of their status, identity, location and so forth. Even when hate speech is not materialized into a hate-motivated crime, the damage is done – victims are being labeled, marginalized and exposed to negative stereotyping. The overall consequences of online hate can be the dehumanization of individuals or groups of individuals. The need for proper strategies to tackle hate speech on social media is unquestionable. The core focus of the thesis is to identify central problems that have contributed to the formation of the existing reality. To unravel the contributing factors, a holistic analysis of both international human rights principles regarding hate speech and the practical application of those standards is necessary.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of this study is on the regulating of social media as a way of checking hate speech in Nigeria.
The specific objectives are;
- To have an overview of hate speech and its effect on individuals.
- To determine the reasons why hate speech is rampant.
- To determine the major obstacles in regulating hate speech on social media.
- To make recommendations on the subject matter
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the reasons why hate speech is rampant?
- What are the major obstacles in regulating hate speech on social media?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work investigates the regulation of social media as a way of checking hate speech in Nigeria. This work would be important to everybody from the Government to the General public and would serve as a literature to researchers who want take up research on social media and hate speech.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is the regulation of social media as a way of checking hate speech in Nigeria. Questionnaires would be used to generate the required information needed to test the hypotheses formulated. However, in the course of this research, the following constraints were encountered thus:
- Non-availability of enough resources (finance): A work of this nature is very tasking financially, money had to be spent at various stages of the research such resources which may aid proper carrying out of the study were not adequately available.
- Time factor: The time used in carrying out the research work is relatively not enough to bring the best information out of it. However, I hope that the little that is contained in this study will go a long way in solving many greater problems.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Domestic violence: This is the abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the bases of race, religion, or sexual orientation
SOCIAL MEDIA: These are websites and applications that allow users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows; Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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