The turn of events and the evolution of the information and communication technology have cleared the way for the emergence and rapid expansion of the social media ushering in a medley of fake and unverified information. This state of affairs is bringing in untold socio-political and economic consequences.
Whereas the social media are partly being recommended for accelerating the propagation of information, a factor which has systematically helped foster decision making within some administrative circles, the same media have opened up to the infiltration and in very alarming rate of false information.
In Cameroon, false news triggered by the growing social unrest in the country has invaded the social media forcing many people to lose confidence in what would have been a credible instrument of development.
The damages caused by unverified and carelessly handled information are beginning to weigh so much on the Cameroonian society. Cameroon Tribune has been one of the media organs that have fallen prey to fake news. In two of such incidences, the paper is made to appear on the social media as having published terrible images of soldiers killed in the North West and South West Regions and made derogatory comments on the Head of State's end -of -year speech.
Memories are still fresh on the image of the President of the Republic posted on the website of the Presidency telling of the President bowing in honour of fallen soldiers at a ceremony at the Military Headquarters in Yaounde. In all these, nothing of such happened. How best can one describe this?
Whatever the case, it is important to note that nothing less than this would have been happening so far as the social media remains a no man's land wherein everyone, dominated by non professionals in the information dissemination is having access.
For now, there seems to be no regulation to scale down the excesses of the social media and the propagation of false news. But this is not an impossibility. The danger is starring at the country direct on the face especially with the approach of elections announced by the Head of State. It is perhaps necessary to make hey while the sun shines.
Other countries are already pondering on how to regulate the sector. As stated by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, fake news is a threat to democracy. It may be necessary to start identifying websites that propagate such news and completely blocking them. This could be one of the solutions and an efficient one for that matter.