In order to expand its local language coverage, Facebook has partnered with the fact-checking agency “Africa Check”. The agency announced that it has added new local language support to several African countries as part of its third-party fact-checking program – which helps gauge the accuracy of news on Facebook and aims to reduce the spread of misinformation.
Launched in 2012, Africa Check is Africa’s first independent fact-checking organization. With the partnership, Facebook expects to expand its coverage in five countries of the continent: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cameroon.
The fact check program is based on feedback from the Facebook community. It acts as one of the signals used to indicate potentially false stories to the fact-checkers who will review. Local articles are checked alongside with photos and videos. If one of the social networking fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, it will be shown lower in the newsfeed to reduce its distribution.
“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. ”Said Kojo Boakye, Head of Public Policy at Facebook, Africa, in a statement.
The languages added are Yoruba and Igbo, in Nigeria adding to Hausa which was already supported; Swahili, in Kenya; Wolof, in Senegal; and Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, North Sotho, and South Ndebele, in South Africa.
“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. “said Africa Check CEO Noko Makgato, in a statement.