Elections 2023: Some Nigerian Influencers Paid To Manipulate Votes

A BBC investigation has discovered that political parties in Nigeria are secretly paying social media influencers to spread disinformation about their opponents ahead of general elections in February.

The BBC’s Global Disinformation Team has spoken to whistle-blowers working for two of Nigeria’s political parties, and prominent influencers who have described it as “an industry”.

The whistle-blowers say parties give out cash, lavish gifts, government contracts and even political appointments for their work.

BBC changed their names to protect their identity. “Yemi” is a prominent strategist and “Godiya” a politician.

“We’ve paid an influencer up to 20m naira ($45,000; £37,000) for delivering a result. We’ve also given people gifts. Other people prefer to hear: ‘What do you want to do in government, be a board member, be a special assistant?’,” says Godiya.

Strategist Yemi says fake stories are developed to improve their candidates’ chances: “You can deliberately misinform in a suitable way for you.”

The BBC has spoken to multiple influencers who have confirmed that payment in exchange for false political posts is widespread.

One influencer who asked not to be named – with almost 150,000 Facebook followers – told BBC he is paid by political parties to post completely false stories about political opponents. He says he does not do it openly but rather plants false stories through other micro-influencers he hires.

-BBC

About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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