Lai Mohammed: ‘Deep’ fake news being used to attack FG, officials

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Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has raised the alarm over the use of “deep fake news” to diminish the successes of the federal government.

Speaking on Saturday during the 64th conference of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in Sal Island, Cape Verde, the minister said fake news has become a weapon to attack the government and its officials.

Mohammed gave instances of how some online publications allegedly circulated fake stories about government officials with the aim of discrediting them.

“As a matter of fact, Nigerians should know that we have graduated from ordinary fake news to ”deep” fake news. The danger of deep fake news is that it is difficult to differentiate the fake news from real news,” the minister said.

“This is because purveyors of deep fake news would take a story, be it a video or a photograph and make it look real. They will take videos of what is happening in other lands, doctor them and freely circulate them as what is really happening in Nigeria. Ditto photographs.

“News stories are even worse, because they embellish such fake stories with quotes and videos and even quote government officials, as if they are real.

“The deep fake news was fabricated just to take the shine away from the government’s success in not only retaining positive GDP growth, but surpassing all expectations crawling from 0.11 per cent two quarters ago to marginal .51 per cent in the last quarter and then 5.0 percent.

“Of course, they don’t wish the government and Nigeria well, but needed something to dampen the enthusiasm of government and make Nigerians sad.”

The minister reiterated the resolve of the federal government to regulate the social media, which he said has become a major tool for propagating fake news.