Joining fact-checking programmes in Kenya and South Africa, Facebook today announced the launch of Third-Party Fact-Checking to help assess the accuracy of news in Nigeria, and reduce the spread of misinformation, whilst improving the quality of news people find on its platform.
Working with two partners, Africa Check; Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, a well-respected news organisation, both are part of a global network of fact-checking organizations, certified by the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.
Facebook’s fact-checking programme 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 will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of our fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.
Akua Gyekye, Facebook Public Policy Manager, Anglophone West Africa commented: “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%, helping to curb economic incentives and reduce its spread.”
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. 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.
“We’re pleased to partner with 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,” said Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager, Media Partnerships, Africa, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy
Commenting on the partnership, David Ajikobi, Africa Check’s Nigeria editor, added: “Nigeria has experienced a surge in misinformation on social media, particularly about health issues not just limited to health risks and disease prevalence but also including purported cures and treatment. The partnership with Facebook presents us as fact checkers a unique opportunity to tackle misinformation on this key platform. We expect that as we move along, millions of Nigerians who get their news through Facebook will start seeing less content that may be socially harmful.”
AFP Global News Director, Michèle Léridon, added: “We are delighted with this new contract with Facebook in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya alongside Africa Check, which is renowned for its fact-checking work in Africa. The different initiatives set up by AFP in the fight against disinformation testify to the Agency’s expertise and credibility in the verification of information at a time when false news is proliferating.”