KAMPALA – Facebook has partnered with several media houses in a bid to fight fake news in 10 new African countries, including Uganda.
The social networking site on Tuesday announced the partnership under its third-party fact-checking programme, which will be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania. The programme has been in five African countries.
“The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows first-hand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme,” Mr Kojo Boakye, Facebook head of public policy, Africa, said.
“Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook,” he added.
Facebook has partnered with Agence France-Presse (AFP), France 24, Pesa Check and Dubawa.
Feedback (http://bit.ly/2AULTF0) is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.
Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director said: “AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”
Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English added: “This project helps us dramatically expand our fact-checking to debunk claims that could otherwise cause real-world harm. The project helps us respond more quickly and directly. We’re seeing real positive results in our interactions with both publishers and the public itself. The project also helps our fact-checks reach a far larger audience than we would otherwise. This has helped us better understand the information vacuum and other viral dynamics that drive the spread of false information in Africa. Our growing impact is a small but tangible contribution to better-informed societies in Africa.”