1.1 Background to the Study
The phenomenon “Fake News” has been a long time social issue that existed with the exchange of words of mouth between people. It was regarded as “gossip”. Unfortunately, this gossip crept into the mass media landscape and it has now become a bigger issue. The worst that has devalued news, is the advert of social media. Information become porous and decline in public trust of the media. Moor (2017), since the Trump presidential campaign in the US and the Brexit campaign in the UK, there has been concern regarding the rapid proliferation of fake news and misinformation particularly through social media.
Silverman (2016), noted that fake news emerged as an issue after the 2016 US election in which the most widely circulated stories in the last three months of the campaign came from false websites and hyper partisan blogs. These stories were shared with much greater frequency than any of the top new articles from major news media, generating over 87 million shares, comments and like. Fake news according to Courtney (2018), takes the form of intention fabricated information which have deceptive contents or grossly distort actual news report. Pangrazio (2018) avers that fake news is not only misleading but also generalizes the different ways in which news can be manipulated. In a better way to have full knowledge of fake news,
Wandle (2017) noted that different types of problematic content that existed within the current news media ecosystem about fake news are false connection, false context, manipulated content, satire or parody, misleading content, imposter content and fabricated content. These line of types of problematic contents are differently used by creators for different objectives.Mathew, Sadiku, Tochukwu and Sarhan (2018) established that fake news spurge as a result of click bait which exaggerate content or fake stories. Created with the intent of generating clicks to increase ad revenue, Novotny (2017) added that click bait is a strategic that place hyperlink design to drive traffic to source that provide generally credible content, but use exaggerated, misleading or questionable headlines, social media descriptions, and/or images.
Social media has become venerable to the creation and dissemination of fake news. Fake news trend on social media platform than the main stream media, The reason is that the mainstream media are highly professional than the social media that give open right to users to generate and disseminate contents without gate keepers. Jenkins (2016) emphasize that with the emergence of the participating web and social media, user generated content has become an increasingly important part of digital culture.Rangrazio (2018) stated that it is the monetization and rapid circulation of ‘news’ through digital platform that has led to such wide spread of media content manipulation. Digital platforms might democratize the creation and circulation of news, however, in doing so question around what news is now it gets made, share and read online context are also raised.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The recent proliferation of fake news has given rise to concern of veracity of news development at the national and international levels. There have been calls for action to halt the spread of fake news and help the public better evaluate news sources. The newly formed European commission’s high level expert group has been established to advice the EU on all the issue in relation to the spread of misinformation across traditional and social media. as part of the commitment to combat fake news, face book announced it will now be sunkey users on what news source they found trust worthy, (Courtney 2018).In addition to that, Facebook intend to lessen the posts from publishers, business and celebrates and put more emphasis on post from friends and family on Facebook users, (Arbel, 2017).
While other countries are looking for solution to combat the spread the of fake news, in Nigerian government too has inked inward to see how to halt fake news in Nigeria. Media literacy has been identified to be the prospect of fighting the challenge of fake news in Nigeria . The problem is, how fast can the government act to educate the masses on media contact, social media contact to place the demand to identify fake news
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objectives of the study are to examine student exposure of Delta State University to fake news: implications and solutions while the following are the specific objectives;
- Examine undergraduate students of Delta State University exposure of fake news.
- Establish the effective of fake news on undergraduate students of Delta State University, Abraka.
- Measure the level of media literacy on identify fake news by undergraduate student in Delta State University, Abraka.
- Determine the contributions of media literacy in the fight against fake news among undergraduate students of Delta State University, Abraka.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study.
- What is level of exposure to fake news by undergraduate students of Delta State University?
- What is the effect of fake news on undergraduate students of Delta State University, Abraka
- What is the level of media literacy for identifying fake news by undergraduate student in Delta State University, Abraka?
- What are the contributions of media literacy in the fight against fake news among undergraduate students of Delta State University, Abraka?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study shall benefit undergraduate students and content creators on social media. It is expected that students will learn and understand the concept of fake news, how fake news is generated and how media literacy can help to fight against fake news within the social media context. Again, the study shall give students opportunity o use the study for reference material for further academic research.
For social media content creator, the study shall be guide to journalistic ethics and code of conduct for every single post on the social media and other information disseminating platforms. Content users shall also benefit from this study because the study shall give them insight on media literacy and as such be able verify every information post on media platforms.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study is limited to fake news exposure by students with emphasis on Delta State University Abraka. The study shall further be restricted to two departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences. These are Mass Communication and Sociology.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms were operationally defined
Exposure: This is the vulnerability of a person towards an issue that is unpleasant to experience.
Fake News: Fake news is an information in public domian that is misleading and having ability to cause danger to human and being coloured as truth.
Media Literacy: This is the level of experience and knowledge of media pattern and dynamism for effective understanding of media objectivity.
Students: Students are learner that enrolled and admitted in the university to pursue a particular profession within a specified years.