Facebook tackles fake news as Nigerians prepare to vote

Facebook tackles fake news as Nigerians prepare to vote

In the US, social media giant Facebook has been accused of allowing its platform to be used to target voters during the country’s last general elections.

With several other developments that are increasingly making its users and regulators to be suspicious of the platform, the social media giant is taking steps towards regaining users’ trust and discouraging those aiming to use Facebook influence elections.

As Nigerians head to the polls this Saturday, Facebook has revealed it is actively involved in steps aimed at preventing the spread fake news. In a statement made available to TechCity, Facebook said working to reduce the spread of misinformation, protect election integrity and support civic engagement across the continent.

To fight fake news, Facebook said it has teamed up with local third-party fact-checkers across South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and Senegal — including Africa Check (Africa’s first independent fact-checking organization), AFP (Agence France-Presse – an international news agency), Pesa Check (a local Kenyan fact-checking organization) and Dubawa (a local Nigerian fact-checking organization).

“These independent groups help us assess the accuracy of news shared on Facebook, and when they determine content is false, we reduce its distribution in News Feed so fewer people see it. We also show related articles from fact-checkers for more context and notify users if a story they have shared is rated as false,” said Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager, Africa Elections.

Facebook added it is helping people to easily spot and flag false news in addition to promoting civic engagement. Other efforts by the company includes improving transparency in political ads.

“Earlier this month, we began temporarily expanding enforcement and not accepting foreign election ads on Facebook in Nigeria to help prevent foreign interference. Already today you can see any ad that a Page is running on Facebook, regardless if it’s shown to you.”

Facebook also revealed it is proactively removing impersonation accounts.

“We’ve always had policies against impersonation. Thanks to recent advancements in our detection technology, we’ve become much more effective at identifying these accounts.”

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