Growing up, I woke up to the sound of fighting. Living in a shared & face me – I face you & yard. Like clockwork, quarrels were constant and every morning was an opportunity for new fights or another chance to reignite old ones.
They fought about everything; from water to whose turn it was to clean the communal bathroom. I would leap from my bed, press my nose against the net covering on our window and start my morning with glee, laughing at whose mothers & wrapper was nearly ripped off in these fights.
But one thing was certain, in a few days, memories of that fight were left to whatever little recollection my brain had stored, leaving these women to redeem themselves and their shame with time. The assurance of peoples forgetfulness.
Today, with social media and the clout fueled urge for content, memories are forever, amplified by shares and secured forever in clouds, easy to pull out with just a search. Your naked face, forever etched in megabytes. The Internet disrupts the privacy in this era, it tends to scale up every tiny mistakes to monumental proportions, and to put them on our records permanently.
In Nigeria, the concept of privacy drawn from section 37 of the 1999 constitution, which is in total vague and an encompassing. Amongst its provision is the reserved right to withhold and withdraw information contained in certain policy documents from the public.
With the information age, digitalization, and the doing away with traditional forms of media like newspapers and broadcast mediums where positions were held by trained journalist who held the ethos of the profession and have being trained to respect privacy.
And the birth of social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, Instagram and recently TikTok, has spiked an increase in citizen reporting trends and the rise of social media influencing and clout chasing.
A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry, has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach. While clout chasing is a modern phrase that can mean using all avenues especially trending issues and creating a ruckus to gain influence, instant popularity, fame.
Ever more so, with the ever evolving landscape of social media, how it is used in different parts of the world and marketing trends. A social media influencer can also mean a social media user with a large following, who is able to maintain engagement with his large audience, influence trends and topic conversations without necessarily having a niche.
Popular across Nigeria are niche influencers like; Noble Igwe, OloriSupergirl, Sisi Yemmie, Joro Olumofin to mention a few and non niche influencers popular on Twitter like; Mazi Ibe, Pamilerin etc.
While niche influencers build their audience catering to specific industries, non niche influencer rise through methods such as giveaways, trolling and controversial content. Although it can be argued that non niche influencers have spent more time on these social platforms to gather this audience, many new users, influenced by their success and numbers resort to using the methods of controversial content to make headway in this number game.
For the above reason, the short line of privacy in an interconnected world is further blurred.
An increase in the need for content further consolidated by the need to provide an ever ready audience with information and increase numbers results to gathering said content via unethical means, hence stories find their way to the web without verification and consent.
Example of this was in 2018 popular blogger Linda Ikeji was under severe backlash for posting the news of accident with pictures of the dead online even before the news was conveyed to the elderly family of the deceased.
One year before that, in march 2017, she posted pictures of a ‘creative' wedding photoshoot that went viral – creating awareness to what the couple hoped would be a quiet wedding ceremony.
More recently is a viral video of two ladies at the Ikeja city mall. Alleged to be wife and girlfriend to an unidentified man. The video showed the alleged wife insulting the younger lady. The video had over 398 thousand views on the initial post from a tweet handle, uncountable shares and reposts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
A few hours after it was posted, the name and social media handle of the alleged side chick was revealed identifying her as a relationship coach and matchmaker.
This infringement in privacy as a result of peoples desire to create content has made everything news, from airport and airplanes, banks and buses, markets and malls, restaurants and roadsides. The covering of privacy is ever threatened.
Although, there is a recent increase in organisations in Nigeria that have and are adopting a no photo, no video policy within their premises, ethics and perhaps a more stringent law that protects the privacy of individuals in this new age era of interconnectivity, news sharing and gathering by individuals, influencers, business owners will be more beneficial to the majority of our population.