Facebook expands its programme to combat disinformation in Sub-Saharan Africa

This Tuesday (8), Facebook announced the expansion of its third-party fact-checking program to 10 African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal.

In partnership with AFP, France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa, this program forms part of its work in helping assess the accuracy and quality of news people find on Facebook, whilst reducing the spread of misinformation on its platform.

Working with a network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the International Fact-Checking Network – a nonpartisan entity that helps identify and analyze fake news – third-party fact-checking will now be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso through AFP, Uganda and Tanzania through both Pesa Check and AFP, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire through the France 24 Observers and AFP, Guinea Conakry through the France 24 Observers, and Ghana through Dubawa.

Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans.

“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, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this program, said Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa.

Kojo Boakye

“We know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue. We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook. While we’ve made great progress, we will keep investing to ensure Facebook remains a place for all ideas, but not for the spread of false news.”

“AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation.”, says Phil Chetwynd, AFP Global News Director. AFP is providing fact-checking in English and French across eight countries.

“Social media is often the primary access to digital content or the ‘Internet’ for many Africans. They shape our perceptions of the world, our public discourse, and how we interact with public figures”, adds Eric Mugendi, Managing Editor from Pesa Check who will provide fact-checking services in Swahili and English.

“Dubawa is excited to be in Ghana where the misinformation and disinformation have become widespread as a result of technological advancement and increasing internet penetration”, affirms Caroline Anipah, Dubawa’s Programme Officer.

“It’s our responsibility as fact-checking journalists to verify the information that’s circulating and get the truth back out there. Participating in the Facebook programme helps ensure that our fact-checks are reaching the people who shared the false news in the first place,” says Derek Thomson, editor-in-chief of the France 24 Observers, that supports the expansion to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Conakry and Cote d’Ivoire