Facebook on Tuesday 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.
The programme is in conjunction with two partners, Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation and AFP, a news organisation. Both are 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.
Akua Gyekye, Facebook Public Policy Manager, Anglophone West Africa, said they are committed to tackling the spread of false news in Nigeria.
“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 per cent, 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,” said Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager, Media Partnerships, Africa, Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy.
“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.”
Commenting on the partnership, David Ajikobi, Africa Check’s Nigeria editor, said Nigeria had 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,” Mr Ajikobi said.
“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.”