Facebook is Fighting Fake News Ahead of Nigerian 2019 General Elections

2019 General Election
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Facebook recently held an Election Integrity Exhibition for media, civil society partners and other stakeholders in Nigeria as part of its continued commitment to tackling false news, fake accounts and hate speech, as well as improving the transparency of advertising on its platform for Nigerian 2019 General Elections.

Detailing the work it has been doing in Nigeria, the exhibition was focused on security measures Facebook has taken in dealing with bad actors; tackling fake accounts; improving the transparency of advertising and pages; and reducing the distribution of false news in the run-up to the 2019 Nigerian General Elections.

Tom Miller, Facebook’s Politics & Government Outreach Manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa made it clear that the company takes the integrity of elections seriously.

Miller said that the facebook will tirelessly continue to explore multiple measures and partnerships to ensure that the integrity of the Nigerian Elections is protected.

He also emphasized that their teams across the company are totally committed to ensuring that Facebook continues to be a safe platform for all users.

“Our goal is to continue launching measures to ensure the integrity and safety of the Nigerian Elections, so that we can continue to drive positive social and economic impact across Sub-Saharan Africa, drive innovation by supporting Africa’s tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and also train communities and the next generation of leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for civic engagement,” Miller said.

Facebook cares about Nigeria

Akua Gyekye, Public Policy lead for Anglophone West Africa, while highlighting Facebook’s commitment to fighting the spread of false news and hate speech on the platform,  said that Facebook cares about Nigeria and is investing in the country.

Gyekye said “Facebook’s mission is clear: to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together. Our mission in Nigeria is no different – we understand the importance of being local in a global world – and want to have a positive long-term impact.”

“In addition, we want to support people who want to be more civically engaged and connect with issues they care about— not just on Election Day, but every day. We do this through a variety of activities, such as partnering with civil society organisations focused on increasing voter education, building tailored Civic Engagement tools which are relevant for Nigeria, and by raising digital literacy by sharing tips on how to spot false news with our community,” she added.

She also stressed the need for everyone to be vigilant, especially during the upcoming 2019 General Elections period, and to always report any content that they feel might be in contravention of Facebook’s Community Standards.

“We encourage our community to flag content to us that they don’t think should be on the platform – whether it’s a picture, a written post, a video – reporting is completely anonymous and confidential and can be done in three simple steps. This allows our Community Operations team to review the content and remove anything that’s violating our Community Standards.”

This is coming after a BBC report highlighting how fake news led to the death of many people in the recent communal clashes in Jos, Plateau state.

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