Nigerian Military Strategic Use of Social Media During Online Firestorms: An Appraisal of the NDA Terrorist Attack

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Abstract

This study appraises how the Nigerian military used social media platforms to provide a counter narrative and quell the online firestorm regarding the Nigerian Defence Academy's (NDA’s) terrorists’ attack and how Nigerians reacted to these strategic communication items or lack of items about the attack. The study analysed 8,210 Facebook posts and comments from Defence Headquarters Nigeria and Facebook users in Nigeria. Findings demonstrate that the Nigerian military adopted silence as a strategy and thus, did not effectively utilise social media platforms to provide a counter narrative or information to quell the online firestorm regarding the NDA terrorists’ attack. Results further illustrate that Nigerian Facebook users criticised the Federal Government, and the military, and were disgusted that a fortress such as the NDA could be attacked and demanded the firing of the Service Chiefs and NDA leaders for their response and attempted cover-up of the attack. The study concludes that while a high reservoir of trust moderates the short and long-term effects of an online firestorm, inactions during an online firestorm aggravates the effect of such an online crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Communication Inquiry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jan 2023

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