Facebook Claims to be Cleaning its Platform Ahead of Elections Across Africa

With many African countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia and many others holding general elections in 2019, Facebook claims to have taken several steps to reduce the spread of misinformation
Facebook Expands Fact-Checking Programme to Nigeria in Fight Against Fake News, Facebook Now Checks Images and Videos For Fake News
Facebook has come under fire since ,id-Match over its handling of user data.

Facebook has recently stepped up its fight against fake news to whole new levels. A recent case is the Saracen Fake News factory in Indonesia, where news that falsely attacked politicians and popular personalities in the country were sold.

With many African countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Algeria, Tunisia and many others holding general elections in 2019, Facebook claims to have taken several steps to reduce the spread of misinformation, protect election integrity and support civic engagement across the continent.

Fighting False News

Facebook says it is looking to stop the spread of false news by teaming up with local third-party fact-checkers across countries holding elections this year. Fact checkers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and Senegal are particularly engaged.

They include: Africa Check; Agence France-Presse (AFP); Kenyan fact-checking organization, Pesa Check; and Nigerian fact-checking organization Dubawa.

These groups 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.

Facebook says these fact-checking expansions are part of a broader strategy to fight fake news.

Boosting Digital Literacy and Helping People Spot False News

Facebook says it is rolling out educational tips on radio and print media across Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The aim of these programmes is to educate people on how to detect false news and know how to flag it.

Furthermore, Facebook claims WhatsApp has launched its “Share Facts, Not Rumours” campaign to help increase awareness about hoaxes in Nigeria.

It also began a new Online Safety Programme for students in Nigerian secondary schools.

The 12-week workshop is designed to help teenagers understand the fundamentals of online safety and digital literacy.

Promoting Civic Engagement

Facebook says it is helping to build informed and civically engaged electorates.

In Nigeria for instance, Facebook claims to have rolled out new options in English and Hausa so people can report posts that contain incorrect election information, encourage violence or otherwise violate Facebook Community Standards.

On Election Day, Facebook will also show a voting day reminder in English and Hausa at the top of its News Feed.

Making Political Ads More Transparent

Facebook says it is temporarily expanding enforcement and not accepting foreign election ads on Facebook in Nigeria or other African countries to help prevent foreign interference.

That’s why today you can see any ad that a Page is running on Facebook regardless if it’s shown to you.

Journalist Trainings

Facebook says it has continued to educate media groups and journalists across the country on best practices for sharing content on its platforms and online safety.

It also claims to provide training on its Community Standards, which govern what is and is not allowed on its platform.

Proactive Removal of Impersonation Accounts

Facebook claims to use its recent advancements in detection technology to become much more effective at identifying these accounts.

Partnerships with NGOs and Civil Society

Facebook says it is working with a number of NGO and civil society partners across many African countries in order to better understand local issues and how to tackle them more effectively.

Connecting with Political Parties About Security

Facebook claims to have trained parties, campaigns and candidates on security best practices, including how to turn on two-factor authentication and how to avoid common threats online.

For the Nigerian elections, they claim to have trained vice presidential candidates, senatorial candidates and top advisors from over 35 major political parties.

The information included in these trainings is also available for anyone to access.

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