Facebook’s latest move in seeking to address misinformation and political “fake news” on the African continent is to expand its efforts into 10 sub-Saharan countries, working in local languages – as well as with news outlets – to better monitor Facebook post content.
The social media giant announced this week that its monitoring and third-party fact-checking programs will be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso in partnership with AFP news, and in Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP.
The Facebook program in Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire will be applied through France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.
The new nations join Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal, where the fact-checking programs already exist.
“The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows firsthand our commitment and dedication to the continent,” said Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s head of public policy for Africa. “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.”
Boakye also mentioned a language-expansion program announced earlier this year. That expansion added the ability to check Facebook posts for accuracy in in Yoruba and Igbo in Nigeria, where Hausa fact-checking was already covered. It also added Wolof in Senegal, Swahili in Kenya, and six South African languages including Afrikaans and Zulu.
That work is done in partnership with Africa Check, the continent’s first independent fact-checking organization. Facebook announced in February that it would be working with Africa Check, as well as Pesa Check in Kenya and Dubawa in Nigeria, to better control the flow of information on the site.