Tech Talk: Facebook tackles fake news in Africa, increasing local language coverage in third-party fact checking program - The Sauce
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Tech Talk: Facebook tackles fake news in Africa, increasing local language coverage in third-party fact checking program

Facebook, in association with Africa Check, announced that it has added new local language support for several African languages as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking program – which helps to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and aims to reduce the spread of misinformation.

Launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon, Facebook has partnered with Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organization, to expand its local language coverage across:

Nigeria, in Yoruba and Igbo, adding to Hausa which was already supported
Swahili in Kenya
Wolof in Senegal
Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele in South Africa

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “We continue to make significant investments in our efforts to fight the spread of false news on our platform, whilst building supportive, safe, informed and inclusive communities. Our third-party fact-checking program is just one of many ways we are doing this, and with the expansion of local language coverage, this will help in further improving the quality of information people see on Facebook. We know there is still more to do, and we’re committed to this.

Commenting, Noko Makgato, Executive Director of Africa Check, said “We’re thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program. In countries as linguistically diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal, fact-checking in local languages is vital. Not only does it let us fact-check more content on Facebook, but it also means we’ll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information.”

According to a previous post on The Sauce, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  investigated allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users in July.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data. US regulators approved a record $5B (£4B) fine on Facebook to settle the investigation into data privacy violations.

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