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Effects of Facebook on News Dissemination in Buea

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The advent of social media sites like Facebook has revolutionised journalism practice. This research examines the influence of Facebook on news dissemination. The study adopts a quantitative approach and survey method. A total of 50 journalists in Buea municipality participated in this study. Major findings revealed that Facebook accelerates news dissemination (72%). It also facilitates the sharing of news items with media audience (86%), increases the speed of sending news items to subscribers (72%), enhances journalists’ abilities to provide minute-by-minute updates of societal events (68%), accelerates the speed of sharing the works of colleagues (60%) and facilities the speed of sharing newsworthy items with media practitioners (54%). The result also revealed that Facebook has increased the speed of getting feedback from news recipient (78%).However, poor network, high cost of internet, frequent power outage and low engagement impede the use of Facebook for news dissemination. Journalists should purchase their personal ICT tools to access Facebook and they make use of alternative sources of electricity, like the use of generators, to overcome frequent power outage.



1.1 Background to the study.

The effects of Facebook on News Dissemination has become a significant study to many researchers. Researchers like Statista (2016), Carey (1989) and Hermida et al (2012). Before Social media, especially for decades now, the dissemination of news across different media platforms specifically Facebook was not like this before. Before the coming of Social media particularly Facebook, Journalists had to be present in an event before they could have developed news making events. The spread of false or misleading news stories on Facebook has become unstoppable issue in today’s society.

The shift from print media to digital media news dissemination has created new credibility assessment issues, leaving many consumers unable to decipher legitimate from illegitimate news stories. And so because of this the credibility of the source especially in Disseminating of information on Facebook is not there anymore. During the pre-digital period, journalism organisations were able to control original reporting, writing, production and delivery, making audience evaluation of credibility easier. With the coming of technological companies such as Facebook and Apple they have become more dominant players in the news production arena, whether they intended to be or not (Mitchell, Mitchell & Holcomb, 2016). Currently, 62% of U.S audults get their News from Social media sites (Mitchell & Holcomb,2016); 44% of them through Facebook (Gottfried & Shearer, 2016) This statistic, along with reported 1.71 billion Monthly active users in the second quarter of 2016, establishes Facebook as the largest distributor of information in the World ( Statista, 2016).

 Also, the founders of Facebook by (Zuckerberg,  Moskovitz & Hughen; 2004) who were students of the Harvard University, Facebook became the largest Social network in the World with nearly three Billion users as of 2021. Facebook lite was launched on 5th June 2015 to give Facebook users faster experience on slower mobile network. It is a lite version of the actual Facebook app, it consumes less data and loads quickly. It has been a paradigm shift in the mass media industry in the past decades. The popularity and advancement in technology including cable television, portable electronic devices, and the Internet has had enormous impacts on the means of transmitting and receiving information in many perspectives.

Again, the  concept of an informed citizenship has always been crucial to a functioning democracy. Citizens need to be usefully informed about the relevant factors of ongoing public life to take meaningful democratic action particularly when it has to do with voting. How such information can be accessed matters greatly. Due to technological advances distribution of information can now occur in an instant with a world wide reach with very few costs. This results in a vast amount of information being spread, a lot more than the human mind can manually manage and order, so to help us find and encounter what is important algorithms are employed to help. Therefore, it do only matter that information is received and in which form it is received, it also matters which information is received. Algorithms are employed daily for a wide variety of tasks in many sectors basically in every situation a computer is involved. This is often in a highly and digitized world. In this the algorithmic filtering of information is the primary source of interest. Information is essential to improvement, and it is what science and democracy is built on. Therefore it matters greatly how it is sorted and distributed. There is likely no single entity, besides Google and the Page Rank algorithm which governs their search, which matters distribution today than Facebook. The social medium is closing in on 2 billion users worldwide (Statista, 2017). In addition, a majority of Americans now get news from social media and a debate regarding whether this is good flared up in 2016. It particularly revolved around the seemingly easy distribution of fake news during the American Presidential election campaign, and whether the setup of Facebook led filter bubbles where people were only seeing attitudes that they tended to agree with already. The consequences of these things were debated widely, with some arguing that fake news was monumental in the election outcome, while others thought the effects were widely overstated both regarding the spread and in regards to news items wide relatively wild claims to have had a strong impact. The importance of such a debate is because most agree that an informed citizenry is a staple of a democratic society (Kuklinski et al, 2000) The World Economic Forum identifies misinformation online as one of the key issues moving forward.The spread of fake news via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook over the last few years is increasingly raising concerns in sub-Saharan Africa countries (Wahutu, 2019). duction The spread of fake news via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook over thelast few years is increasingly raising concerns in sub-Saharan Africa countries (Wahutu 2019a). In  Cameroon, for instance, it was spread in 2017 on Facebook by some citizen journalists who support the secession struggle in Cameroon that UNESCO had declared it will not recognize school certificates issued that year in the country. This is a consequence of the socio-political conflict which has been hitting the south-west and north-west regions since 2016 (Fannyuy, 2017). This information was dismissed in a press release issued on 24 February 2017 by the UNESCO national commission in Cameroon (Betatinz, 2017). Still on Facebook, it was circulated  that the candidacy of Joshua Osih, Social Democratic Front (SDF) nominee to the 2018 presidential election in Cameroon, was rejected by the electoral commission because of his anglophone origins (Mwalimu 2018). In this case also itwas all about fake news, as Joshua Osih was effectively among the nine who ran for president at the 7 October poll (Mefo 2018). These two above-mentioned cases are typical examples of several fake news stories propagated on Facebook by non-traditional journalists in Cameroon with respect to the anglophone crisis (for more examples, see Ngange and Mokondo 2019). Cameroonian journalism scholars have pointed out the risk of fake news being posted and shared through social media apps (Facebook)  by people they call “citizen journalists” and criticized for lacking journalistic integrity Ngange and Mokondo (2019);  Nounkeu (2020). While it is true that privately posted information about the Anglophone conflict is both abundant as well as notoriously unreliable and hard to fact-check, it is also worth pointing out that the Cameroonian press is restricted by harsh libel laws and general government hostility towards critical reporting. It is thus hard to blame Cameroonians for gravitating towards alternative.

In an attempt to stop the circulation of information on social media, the Cameroonian government shut down the Internet in the south-west and north-west regions (Africa News 2018; CNN 2018). The Internet blackout lasted for 280 days (Dahir 2018). That notwithstanding, after the restoration of the Internet, the “Southern Cameroons” leaders and political activists in exile continued to use digital platforms to mobilize the masses in the country, while the citizen journalists, also in exile, kept updating the local population and the diaspora with news of the battleground. Many Cameroonian citizen journalists prefer to use Facebook, which dominates the social media market share in Cameroon. According to the 2019 Internet World Stats report, about three million people in the country had a Facebook account by 31 December 2018.

In reality, the phenomenon of fake news as it is experienced nowadays in Cameroon and worldwide rose to prominence since the Brexit referendum and Trump’s 2016 campaign (Bennett and Livingston (2018). Wasserman and Madrid-Morales (2019: 109) argue that “in African journalism studies, pioneering work in South Africa has identified the use of social media platforms (e.g. Twitter) as tools to spread political misinformation.” However, scholarship on fake news points to the fact that fake news might also emanate from mainstream media (Benkler, Faris, and Roberts Citation2018; Carlson Citation2018; Wahutu Citation2019). Also not long in this year 2023 it was information was spread on social media that the fees for state Universities will be 300,000frs this rumour that was spread on social media kept parents worried. When it comes to social media in particular, scholarly research has focused considerably on their affordability, which makes it possible for any individual to publish information and reach a mass audience (Shepherd and Shanade (2016; Hermida and Young (2019). However, studies focusing on the quality of information disseminated on social media by users in sub-Saharan Africa, especially those who claim to be citizen journalists, are very rare.

Facebook as platform for news dissemination. As of quarter of 2016 Facebook had 1.79 billion monthly active users ( Statistic, 2016). 195 million Indians are on Facebook . These number establishe the fact that Facebook is a popular social media networking site globally and in India. During the last 12 year from a network of friends, Facebook has evolved as a platform to share all kind of information (Kenny Olmstead, 2010)

People use Facebook for a variety of purposes  for building social relations, entertainment, seeking information about others, Facebook application like games, quizzes, and also getting information about event happening around the world.(Kwon, Angelo & Macleod, 2013), along with Facebook influences an individual’s participation in civic and political action.

As Facebook is unique in nature, it is argue that Facebook and other social networking sites are a recalibrated platform of three sphere viz. private, public and market sphere and they are evolving as new spaces of communication (Dijck, 2012).

1.2 Statement of the problem


General research question.

What is the effect of Facebook on News dissemination?

1.3 Research Questions.

What extent does Facebook influence the speed of news issemination?

To what extent has Facebook increased the speed of getting feedback from news recipients?

What effect does Facebook has on quality of news dissemination

1.3 Research Objectives.

General research objective.

To determine the effects of Facebook on news dissemination in Buea

Specific research objectives.

  1. To determine the effects Facebook has on the speed of News disseminated.
  2. To examine the effects Facebook has on the quality of News disseminated.
  3. To determine the effects Facebook has on feedback of News disseminated.
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