Facebook launches its 1st Africa fact-checking programme in Kenya

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Ebele Okobi, Public Policy Director, Facebook.

Facebook has announced the launch of Third-Party Fact-Checking to help assess the accuracy of news in Kenya, and reduce the spread of misinformation, whilst improving the quality of news people find on its platform.

Facebook will be working with two partners, Africa Check; Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, a well-respected news organisation, both part of a global network of fact-checking organisations, 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.

Ebele Okobi, Public Policy Director, Facebook, “We recognize the potential impact of false news on our platform, and we recognize the role we play in limiting that impact. We 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. These partnerships are just one of our many commitments across Africa to improve the quality of the information on the platform.”

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 Africa, and specifically Kenya. Fighting the spread of misinformation via news articles, photos and videos will help to build a better informed community” said Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager, Media Partnerships, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy.

Commenting on the partnership Aphonce Shiundu, Kenya editor for Africa Check added: “Given the background of false information and the outright misinformation that we keep seeing in Kenya, it is great that Facebook has recognised the problem and is partnering with Africa Check to offer fact-checking solutions on its platform. It is a great step towards entrenching honest public debate.”

AFP Global News Director Michèle Léridon, added: “We are delighted with this new contract with Facebook in 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.”

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