Several websites established around the time of Nigeria’s general elections in February 2023 are reaching thousands of people while spreading false news. A high number of adverts on the websites mean they can be profiting from the spread of disinformation.
They weave false stories with factual news about sports, entertainment, and politics – with some publishing as many as 700 pieces per month. They also favour or attack politicians in Nigeria.
Almost seven months after the fiercely contested elections, the country remains deeply divided, as witnessed in the reaction to last week’s ruling on the opposition challenge to the results. The disinformation spread by these websites may be fueling these divisions.
The BBC Global Disinformation Team analysed three of these new websites: Podium Reporters, registered in 2021, Reportera, in July 2022, and Parallel Facts, in May 2023.The timing of their creation had a reason, according to Mr Tijani.
During the electoral campaign and after, all three main candidates were subject to inaccurate news stories published by the websites analysed.
Bola Tinubu of the ruling APC was elected president in a tight race with 37% of the votes. His election is still being contested by the second- and third-placed candidates, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi. Last week the election tribunal rejected their challenges but they have said they will go to the Supreme Court.