FACEBOOK STEPS UP PLANS TO DEAL WITH FAKE NEWS IN AFRICA
- August 20, 2019
- Posted by: Lead Contributor
- Category: Uncategorized
FACEBOOK is going local as it plans to double down on its effort on dealing with its global fake news problem.
The social media company is adding checks to local language content on its platform among African users. The decision comes as a part of an ongoing third-party fact-checking program in partnership with an independent fact-checking organization known as the Africa Check.
The initiative will be expanded to support major local languages. in Nigeria, the languages include Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, while languages like Afrikaans, isiZulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele include in South Africa. Swahili in Kenyan and Wolof in Senegal and each of these selected languages have over a million native speakers.
Given the strong diversity of languages in countries where Facebook has rapidly grown the company must understand that fake news is no less formidable when posted in a local language.
The lack of these local language services in the past means users do not have access to genuine sources to verify this news themselves. The move to expand the verification of report posted on Facebook platforms comes as an effect of the growth recorded by the social media giant which has increased beyond the elite and middle-class due to the fall of access to internet cost and prices of smartphones.
The Facebook head of Public Policy for Africa, Kojo Boakye in a press statement said that the languages were additions to the ones already supported by the platform.
Mr Boakye further revealed that the tech giant Facebook is working with Africa Check to add new sets of local language support for many African languages as part of its Third-Party verification scheme.
He said the initiative would help to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and reduce the spread of misinformation.
The indications that elections in Africa will continue to be a target of fake news campaigns are still solid, despite the protective measures put in place effort by Facebook. Earlier this year, Facebook shut down a series of Israeli-linked fake accounts targeted at elections in African.
There have been several concerns voiced by African regulators and security services concerning their inability to prevent misinformation from being spread rapidly between individuals or groups on the various Facebook platforms which include; (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram).