Some of the social media disadvantages are the emergence of online fraud perpetrated by some dubious characters. For instance, they “hijack” users’ accounts, identity theft, impersonate Facebook security or administrator among others. These hijacked social media accounts would then be used to send fake messages to other users, warning them that their account was about to be disabled and instructing the users to click on a link to verify their account. This study was undertaken to examine student’s participation in social media fraud. The case study selected for this work is the University of Ibadan. The study adopted the descriptive research design. The data were collected through the use of questionnaire. The study found out that some students actively engage in social media fraud. Also the findings of the studies reveal that students who engage in such have their academics affected negatively.
1.1 Background to the Study
The use of social media to communicate among different people in the contemporary world has indeed come to stay. This is because social media is a pretty nifty tool for keeping in touch to a large number of heterogeneous audiences within the shortest possible time. Platforms such as Facebook, email, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp among others offer users variety of ways in which they can remain connected at all times. However, the seemingly endless capacity for sharing, swiping, liking and retweeting has some negative consequences, not the least of which is that it opens users up as targets for online frauds. Some of the social media disadvantages are the emergence of online fraud perpetrated by some dubious characters. For instance, they “hijack” users’ accounts, identity theft, impersonate Facebook security or administrator among others. These hijacked social media accounts would then be used to send fake messages to other users, warning them that their account was about to be disabled and instructing the users to click on a link to verify their account. The users would be directed to a false Facebook page which often ask them to enter their login info and their credit card information to secure their account. This is one of the several ploys deployed by scammers, even as the social media users continue to grow numerically. Global Internet Users (2017) reported that the number of Internet users across the globe has reached 3,739,698,500 as at March 2017. Considering this figure, online activities will certainly continue to increase dramatically and individuals will continue to use the Internet for a variety of purposes including email, chat, research, video communication, online banking, electronic commerce and online auctions. As such, careless, ignorant and unsecured online users on Facebook or emails are vulnerable to hackers and scammers who pretend to offer mostly financial assistance. These hackers and scammers are arguably believed to be smart in understanding the perceptions and expectations of online users they are targeting to defraud. Nigerians like other nationals are active users of various social media platforms. The unimaginable internet penetration has brought online activities more closely than ever to Nigerians as a result of the emergence of mobile internet services. Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) report showed that the number of internet users in Nigeria’s telecommunications networks increased to 91.6 million in June, 2017 (The Sun, 2017). This development has spurred a growing number of social media users in Nigeria. NCC noted that there is an increasing volume of information shared on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and Instagram, to mention just a few among several social media networks through which Nigerians interact, obtain information to meet their social needs. It revealed that over 16 million Nigerians are on Facebook, the highest in Africa, making Nigerians the most active users in the continent (omojuwa.com, 2017). This development indicates that Nigerians are obviously among the millions of global social media users prone to online fraud or scam. There are several media reports of Nigerians of all ages falling victims or perpetrators of the online scam or fraud. They wreak the live of other Nigerians and foreigners through the advance fee fraud running into millions of Naira, Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros (Gabriel, 2015). According to Gabriel (2015) “whether they call it 419, Obtaining By Trick, OBT or Yahoo-Yahoo, it is the same story. People are using the internet to perpetrate scams that deprive many of their hard earned money, destroy businesses and make nonsense of their lives”. Studies have revealed that many people (email and Social Media users) especially youths are victims of such frauds which in one way or the other has affected their lives (Button et al.; Ngo-Ye, 2013; Idolor, 2012; Graziolo and Jarvenpaa, 2003; Nikitkov and Bay, 2008). However, most of these studies focused on the nature of such scams, modalities, business or corporate organizations that have fallen victims but, much has not been documented on the opinions of users especially among youths who are the largest category of users of these social media platforms (Duggan, 2015).
1.2 Problem Statement
Social media for students have become a major part of their lives. In Nigeria higher institutions, it is very uncommon to find a student who is not engaged in one form of social media. For every class of 100 students, at least 50% is registered on more than one social media platform. This act of belonging to several social media platforms, affords the students the opportunity to receive and send information whether doctored or genuine. This platforms has proven overtime to be able to help keep the students updated. For example, the classes may have Whatsapp groups for a particular level, facebook group for a particular level and so on. The platforms has been identified to provide help to the needed in difficult situations as participants take advantage of these platforms to ask for several helps depending on the kind of group they are joined to. However, in this contemporary period where technology is wrongly used and wrongly applied; social media has been also identified to be a platform where some scrupulous individual swindle people of their cash and possible on their personality. Several categories of people have been identified to be in this calamitous act and the students are not excluded. It is on this premise that this study is undertaken to examine students’ participation in social media fraud.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This study was undertaken to pursue the following aims and objectives:
- To determine whether students participate in social media fraud.
- To x-ray the various methods of social media fraud.
- To ascertain the impact of social media fraud engagement on the academic of the students.
- To determine the consequences of students’ participation is social media fraud.
1.4 Significance of the study
This study is quite significant; this is because we operate in the era where information must appear on the social media before it reaches the target audience and even to a great extent believed to be true. Thus this study is a stitch in time. Also, this study will help the “victims to be” on social media make better decision as regards their online presence and the kind of information, they disseminate on the social media. Finally, this study is a contribution to academic literature.
1.5 Study Hypotheses:
The study developed and formulated for testing, the following hypotheses:
H0: There is no significant students’ participation in social media fraud menace.
H1: There is a significant students’ participation in social media fraud menace.
H0: There is a significant negative relationship that exists between students’ participation in social media fraud and their academics.
H0: There is a significant positive relationship that exists between students’ participation in social media fraud and their academics.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of Study
This study is focused on examining students’ participation in social media fraud. The students chosen for this category is the students of higher learning, i.e. Universities, Polytechnics, colleges of education and Monotechnics. The study excluded the high school students. Also, the study focuses on the popular social media platforms like the facebook, Whatsapp, twitter and Instagram. However, social network forums like Nairaland, and so on are taken into consideration. Furthermore, the study was limited by time and lackadaisical attitude of some students in giving out information on the questionnaire which was used to elicit data.
1.7 Definition of Basic terminologies
Participation: The act of belonging or contributing to a particular task, activity, or group; whether passively or actively.
Social Media: These are modern media platforms used to send and receive multimedia messages across location as ease.
Student: A registered and recognize member of an academic learning. In this case, tertiary institutions.
1.8 Organization of Study
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
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