Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has spoken against the negative effects of fake news.

The vice-president, while speaking at a symposium in Abuja on Wednesday, said fake news can also strain marriages.

His words: “I have been one of the targets of fake news. It can also sometimes cost you marital peace. I got a call from my wife about three or four weeks ago and she said 'Yemi what are you doing with strippers?' and I said 'what do you mean by strippers?' So, I read a story in a famous blog that said: ‘Osinbajo caught with strippers'.

“And there was a photograph of me sitting between two perfectly clothed ladies but underneath this picture, the same ladies were not wearing much.

“In fact-checking, (I noticed that) the photographs with these two ladies at an entertainment event were taken when they were perfectly clothed but by the time the story was put out, it was as though I had taken a photo with them at the time they were not clothed at all.

“As it turns out, I wasn’t in the picture of where they were not wearing clothes but just the caption, the stories and all that gave the impression that here I was in the company of these ladies at a point when they were doing their business. I think the capacity of fake news to cause great harm is not in doubt at all.”

Osinbajo, however, rejected further legislation that would limit press freedom since it included the right to create a blog or post social media messages.

He added: “It will be impossible to regulate social media without in some sense substantially infringing on fundamental rights, especially freedom of expression. There is no way you will leave that power in the hands of the government or the legislature without finding some form of overbearing activity on the part of the government or the legislature.”

Festus Okoye, a national commissioner and Chairman of Publicity and Voter Education Committee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who was at the symposium, said the commission decided to organise weekly press briefings in anticipation of the election because of fake news.

Okoye said the major targets of fake news are the country’s youth.

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