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Friday March 15 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min) De Brakke Grond | Grote Zaal

The heterogeneity and interconnectivity characteristic of the social media are made possible by the general accessibility and cheapness of the phenomenon. This much has left a preponderance impunity amongst a large number of youths, especially in Nigeria. Following the relative ease with which information is shared, the penchant to assault, criticize and condemn government officials and the highly placed is a common view on the communication thread of these platforms. As a subscriber and member, I have observed with disdain, putrid language and venomous comments coming from individuals who may not have the courage and willpower to confront those whom they direct such criticism and antagonism. At the end, despite how close their profile pictures are to their true face, their avatar can never be a replacement for the face they share on these platforms. People are merely interacting with a mask, which removes the real risks of human encounters. They indulge themselves and overreact in manners that lack moderation. This paper has therefore, set out to examine comments posted on Facebook and WhatsApp Group Chat Fora amongst Nigerian youths in Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State. The investigation employed a participant observation and library resources with a conclusion that, the social media have become a digital mask metaphor which leverages on the power of hidden identity. The youths have therefore, become intoxicated in the privilege this cheap means of communication has granted everyone, where someone has become nobody.
Bernard Eze ORJI had worked as a Reporter, Sports Desk with the Leadership Newspaper Group, Abuja, Nigeria. He holds B.A. (Hons.) 2008, Theatre Arts and M.A. (2012), Performance, from Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos and University of Ibadan respectively. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he is researching into Masquerade Art in New Nigerian Festivals. His scholarly interests focus on Popular Culture, Masquerade Art in Carnivals; New Festivals and Performances. He has participated and presented his papers in major international conferences and published articles in reputable Journals and contributed Chapters in books. 
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