Information Credibility On Social Networking Sites: A Study Of A Salt-and-warm-water Anti-Ebola Prank In Nigeria
Free (open access)
245 - 255
G. S. Nababa
This paper examined the credibility of information on social networking sites as a result of a prank on the networks to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria. It also explored how active users of the networks shared information about a salt-and-warm-water solution as a prevention for Ebola, which led to the loss of lives and many other people hospitalized as a result of excessive consumption of salt due to the joke. The use of salt and warm water to prevent Ebola was a deadly hoax that spread through social networks in Nigeria. By using a structured questionnaire as a method of data collection, this study surveyed some 114 active users of the social networks on the credibility of the salt-and-warm-water information on the networks. The findings indicated that although the majority of the respondents learnt about the deadly hoax on the social networks, it was not the result of the credibility of information on the networks that led some of them to use the salt solution. The majority of the respondents who used the salt solution identified interpersonal relationships as major motivators of their risky actions. The conclusion of the study is that because social networking sites hold the potential of disseminating information to a large number of people very quickly, it is risky to use the platform for jokes, especially on health related issues.
information credibility, social networks, salt and warm water, Ebola prevention, exploratory, Nigeria