With a number of upcoming elections across Africa, Facebook decided to share an update on their work to reduce the spread of misinformation, protect election integrity and support civic engagement across the continent.
Below are the detailed steps it (Facebook) is taking to safeguard upcoming elections in Africa.
The social network is teaming up with local third-party fact-checkers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and Senegal to determine whether news shared via its platform is accurate and limit the distribution of content that is proven to be false.
Organizations working with Facebook include international news agency Agence France-Presse , Kenya’s Pesa Check and Nigeria’s Dubawa, Africa Check and CrossCheck Nigeria.
Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging application are also sharing tips on how to spot and flag fake news via outlets such as radio and print in Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The social network kicked off an online safety program in secondary schools in Nigeria last year to teach teenagers about online safety and digital literacy fundamentals such as managing their online presence, sharing via social media, public Wi-Fi safety, healthy online relationships, password security, privacy settings and identifying misinformation online.
Also in Nigeria, Facebook rolled out new options in English & Hausa so people can report posts that contain incorrect election information, encourage violence or otherwise violate Community Standards in both English and Hausa. In addition, voting day reminders will appear atop News Feed in both languages on election day in the country.
Facebook stopped accepting foreign election ads in Nigeria earlier this month, and people in that country can see all ads being run by pages.
Media groups and journalists across Nigeria are receiving training from Facebook on best practices for sharing content via its platform and adhering to its community standards.
Facebook said it has become much more effective at identifying accounts that impersonate other people or accounts.
The social network is working with several non-governmental associations and civil society partners across the continent, gaining feedback that it incorporated into its policies and programs.
Finally, Facebook worked to train 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, Facebook trained vice presidential candidates, senatorial candidates and top advisors from over 35 major political parties.
Facebook public policy manager for Africa elections Akua Gyekye wrote in a Newsroom post , “With a number of upcoming elections across Africa, we want to share an update on our work to reduce the spread of misinformation, protect election integrity and support civic engagement across the continent … We want Facebook and WhatsApp to be places where people feel safe, can access accurate information and make their voices heard. We are making significant investments, both in products and in people, and continue to improve in each of these areas.”