Legit.ng media literacy project educates youth about fake news, trusted journalism

By Oluwaseyi Catherine Tomosori


Lagos, Nigeria


In the face of Nigeria’s escalating misinformation crisis, exacerbated by the proliferation of fake news and its weaponisation during elections, the role of media organisations in preserving truth and trust in journalism has never been more critical.

Legit.ng, a leading Nigerian news platform, has taken a proactive approach to addressing the rampant spread of misinformation among young people.

Through the launch of a comprehensive media literacy project, Legit.ng embarked on a mission to equip Nigerian youths with the tools and knowledge necessary to discern between fact and fiction, fostering a generation of critically thinking media-literate individuals.

A growing problem

In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a concerning surge in the dissemination of misinformation, primarily fueled by the younger demographic. Fake news, false narratives, and deceptive content have become a pervasive challenge, contributing to the erosion of public trust and the distortion of democratic processes — particularly during elections.

This issue is exacerbated by the systematic weaponisation of misinformation as a strategic tool by various political entities, further intensifying its impact on the socio-political landscape of the nation.

Among the examples are:

  • Social media manipulation: During the 2023 electoral season, political actors created and disseminated false narratives on social media platforms to tarnish the reputation of opposing candidates, often with doctored videos and misleading information.
  • Deepfakes/engineered chats: The use of deepfake technology to create realistic yet entirely fabricated videos or engineered chats of political figures endorsing false information has further blurred the lines between reality and fiction.
  • Media houses succumbing to sensationalism: Some media outlets, in a bid to attract larger audiences, resorted to sensationalised reporting, prioritising clickbait content over factual news, contributing to the overall degradation of journalistic standards.

Addressing these multifaceted challenges requires a comprehensive strategy that involves education, media literacy programmes, regulatory measures, and collaboration between government, civil society, and tech companies to foster a resilient information ecosystem in Nigeria.  

Legit.ng’s solution to a societal menace

Legit.ng has an ambitious strategy to reduce fake news and misinformation incidents by 75% by the year 2030 by training Nigerian youth in media literacy and giving them the tools to distinguish between authentic and fake news.

Recognising the significance of truth in online news, Legit.ng undertook the responsibility to instil a truth-centric culture throughout its workforce and the citizenry.

Driven by this ambitious strategy, Legit.ng introduced its media literacy project ahead of the 2023 elections, a time known for increased misinformation penetration. The company did this to address the pervasive issue of fake news threatening the nation, economy, and interpersonal relationships. 

Legit.ng created a gamification segment on its media literacy Web site.
Legit.ng created a gamification segment on its media literacy Web site.

In 2022, Legit.ng launched a media literacy campaign in collaboration with top Nigerian celebrities to help Nigerians easily distinguish between fake and accurate news. Legit.ng also unveiled a special microsite dedicated to teaching visitors how to fact-check rumours, advocate transparency in reporting, and demand responsible news journalism from the media.

To drive advocacy, an edutainment approach was adopted, using a gamified quiz with questions that influencers had to answer correctly to show their knowledge of authentic news and to gauge how they spot fake news.

Short videos featuring celebrities taking the quiz were shared on Facebook to over 11 million followers, as well as on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. The videos, alongside a game quiz, were hosted on the special digital Web site, created to host other “easy-to-assimilate” content.

For International Youth Day in August 2023, in collaboration with LEAP Africa, a youth-focused leadership development organisation committed to raising leaders that will transform Africa, Legit.ng hosted a virtual master class to train African youths on media literacy, with a focus on fact-checking. It attracted 13,000 youths across Africa, supporting our goal to make one-third of Nigerian youth media literate by 2025.

Overall, the Media Literacy Project has reached over 30 million individuals across digital and traditional media, impacting the average Nigerian, media stakeholders, and the diaspora audience. It showcases the transformative potential of digital media in educating and entertaining, fostering media literacy to positively influence lives.

Through this project, Legit.ng has successfully captured the attention of youth, intensifying their desire for media literacy. Online, we have seen a surge in young individuals requesting fact-checking from media organisations for news they suspect is fake.

The impact of Legit.ng’s initiative was affirmed when it won the Best Trust Initiative at the 2023 WAN-IFRA Awards. Jurors said it was a “great way to make fact-checking appealing to people and to train them to do their own sense-check of information. The number of people reached is impressive. The fact that you can sign up for a Webinar makes it particularly impactful.”

The media organisation continues to innovate in its approach to ensuring that its strategic ambition is reached by 2030.

About Oluwaseyi Catherine Tomosori

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