Facebook Moves to Address Fake News with Tech Solution


Nosa Alekhuogie

Facebook has introduced a new solution known as Fact-checking, into the Nigerian market to fight inauthentic feeds, improve the accuracy of news as well as reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform.

The company which collaborated with Africa Check and AFP on the project announced this in Lagos recently.
Africa Check, which is Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, are both part of a global network of fact-checking organisations, certified by the International Fact-Checking Network.

According to the company, the third party fact-checking programme, which has been launched earlier in Kenya and South Africa, was aimed at tackling false news and also to improve the quality of news people find on its platform.
The Facebook’s fact-checking project relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles would be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of the fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

Speaking at the launch, the Facebook Public Policy Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Akua Gyekye, explained that when third-party fact-checkers write articles about a news story, Facebook will show these in related articles immediately below the story in News Feed.

She said: “Nigeria is important to us and we’re committed to taking our responsibility seriously in tackling the spread of false news.

“We know that there is no silver bullet, and believe that a multi-pronged approach is the best strategy, and a key solution is identifying and demoting false news. Once a fact-checker rates a piece of content as false, we’re able to reduce its future views by an average of 80 per cent helping to curb economic incentives and reduce its spread.
“Page Admins and people on Facebook will also receive notifications if they try to share a story or have shared one in the past that’s been determined to be false, empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share.” She added

Strategic Partner Manager, Media Partnerships, Facebook Africa, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, explained that facebook would identify potential false news using various signals and fact checkers to proactively identify stories on their own. “We are pleased to partner Africa Check and AFP to expand our fact-checking efforts into Nigeria, joining the recently launched South Africa and Kenya programmes. Fighting the spread of misinformation via news articles, photos and videos will help to build a better informed community and help verify the stories flagged by our community in Nigeria,” Muhutu-Remy said.