Social Media. Photo Econsultancy
One of the greatest revolutions of the later part of the 20th century was the evolution of the Internet which greatly democratised the spread of information. The early part of the 21st century saw the rise of social media which dislodged the traditional media in the latter’s age-long news gathering and dissemination of information that it had done for centuries. It made just about anyone with a smartphone and Internet data a journalist.
The Internet can be a veritable tool for positivity, innovation and healthy living but in it has a poisoned chalice: the tendency for ignoble abuse. Apart from the many benefits of the Internet and the social media, many Nigerians, as a result of the harsh economic situations, find succor on the Internet, especially as they throw banters with other users, listen to news, and become availed with information, ranging from current affairs, sports and most especially gossips.
Nigerian’s thirst for gossip on the Internet gave rise to a litany of gossip blogs both on the mainstream web pages and the associated social media apps like Instagram and Facebook. Gossip blogs became a goldmine. The likes of Linda Ikeji, Stella Dimorkorkus, Instablog made their fortune from gossip news, as they litter the social media webspace with never before-seen news of public figures, politicians, music and TV stars amongst others.
Conjectures, insinuations are packaged for the ever-ready readers who have made gossip news a daily tonic. While some of the insinuations being churned out end up being true or partly true, a large chunk of these assertions get to be unproven till date, with no one batting an eyelid. Or let me say some of the accused simply do not want to waste their time to defend or sue the bloggers as that would be akin to wrestling in the dirty mud. Whichever way it appears, the story would get some form of legitimacy however false it may be as no action was taken.
There is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Minister for Information and Locus Classicus in Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels which says, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” While not disproving the times the stories of these blogs get to be true, in many cases the intention of these gossips are far from noble. The infamous Wizkid vs Linda Ikeji brouhaha years back cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
Gistlovers blog, also known as ‘Wawulence Headquarters’ is a social media platform that uses Instagram as its major web platform. It has over the years become popular with high-profile gist, conjectures and gossips of highly placed celebrities and public figures.
The Instagram blog has reported stories of many public figures, and is famed for the phrase ‘I come in peace’ while dishing out toxic vituperations of people’s personal lives. The blog seeks to intrude into the inner chambers of well known personalities, revealing to the public leaked information, in the process intruding their privacy. While some of the revelations are not illegal actions by the said personalities, the blog has assumed to itself the moral compass to adjudge personal human actions.
From the 2Face,Annie Idibia’s spat to the RudeBoy vs Anita Okoye family issues, the blog has widened the gulf when it comes to family and domestic conflicts, opting to ‘pour more fuel’ into the fire in cases that can be mended. The Prince Kpokpogri voice note leak, the Tonto Dikeh-Janemena sex tape impasse are many of the issues that made the blog very famous, and of course for the toxic reasons.
Singer Tiwa Savage had in an interview asserted that a blackmailer is in possession of a private sex tape she had with her lover and posited she won’t accede to the monetary demands of the blackmailer; she further dared the blackmailer to release the tape as she won’t bulge to the whims and caprices of the said blackmailer. Weeks after the claim, a less than 10 seconds recorded sex video of the singer flooded the Internet, eliciting tones of reactions and it was a messy week for the ‘Eminado’ crooner.
Tiwa Savage took full responsibility for the video and called out Gistlover over the incident, with the latter gloating over the incident. The ‘somebody son’ singer informed the public that Gistlover is her blackmailer and went on a post rant on how much the blog hates her. She furthermore went ahead to inform the public how she had changed the narrative.
According to the ex wife of Teebillz, Gistlover was not happy with how she reacted to the whole saga concerning her leaked video with the blogger threatening to beat her wherever they met in public. Taking to her Instastory, she called out Gistlover and that may be one of the reasons Instagram deleted Gistlovers account.
She wrote: ‘‘You hated how I was able to control the narrative and get ahead of a story before it consumed me and how I’m able to joke on stage about something you thought should destroy me and make me feel ashamed. “You must knock my head when you see me otherwise… Gistloversblog africa With my full chest.’
From Tiwa Savage’s post, it could be deduced that Gistlover had threatened to leak the tape to the public as a result of her ‘Eko on Show’ performance and could be a major culprit as the tape later found its way to the Internet.
From Gistlover’s Instagram posts, the blog had many times threatened to release leaked voice notes, and nude videos of known figures and in the wake of twerker, Jane Mena alleged sex tape on the Internet, the blogger had claimed the video on the Internet is fake and not that of Jane Mena, while further promising its teeming fans to release the original video if Jane Mena is not careful, which the blog claimed is in its possession.
The actions of Gistlover have not only crossed the line of decency, it has run afoul of the extant laws of the land. The blog by its actions is guilty of blackmail and privacy intrusion which is a crime under the constitutions. The Blog by its own posts has shown that it can threaten others (as in the case of Jane Mena) to maintain certain etiquettes or it would expose the private doings of the person. There is surely a law about privacy protection.
Gistlover and some other gossip blogs, despite entertaining its teeming followers with daily dose of gossip gist are toxic hirelings that should not be allowed to hold sway in a society backed by law. The security agencies should as a matter of urgency via intelligence channels trace the owner behind that toxic instagram account, unmask him/her and prosecute the person for blackmail, privacy intrusion and extortion. Similar actions should be expanded to other toxic blogs.
The action of Gistlover is what has made some media stakeholders call for stricter regulation of social media so that it doesn’t burn down the country, destroy relationships irreparably amongst other bitter pills. Some regulation apologists have advised the government to adopt the China model in regulating social media. While this writer wouldn’t take sides for or against social media regulation as it is not the purpose of this piece and a discussion for another day, there needs to be some form of sanity in its usage so that it doesn’t end up as a menace despite its avalanche of benefits.
Nigeria is not a banana republic!
Faseyi, a pen activist, a co-founder of media brand, The Vent Republic Media, wrote from Abuja.