Facebook’s misinformation policy manager for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Tom Nvumba-O’Bryan, on Wednesday said the company has removed a total of 18 million misinformation about COVID-19 virus published on its platform thus far.
Mr Nvumba-O’Bryan disclosed this while making a virtual presentation on the technological approach to combating misinformation at the ongoing Information Disorder West Africa Conference (IDWAC) in Abuja.
“18 million misinformation has been removed about COVID-19 so far,” Mr Nvumba-O’Bryan said.
The two-day conference organised by DUBAWA, an independent fact-checking organization headquartered in Abuja, is aimed at engaging media professionals, academics, researchers, and the public on the subject of information disorder and the efforts at combating it.
Speaking further, Mr Nvumba-O’Bryan noted that Facebook, now called Meta Platforms, Inc, tackles misinformation using three strategies: Reduce, Remove and Inform.
He said: “Part of the reason we partner with fact checking organisations is to be able to fully identify misinformation and debunk claims.”
The official said they have significantly removed pages or domains that repeatedly share misinformation.
Meta Platforms, Inc., trading as Meta and formerly Facebook, Inc., is an American multinational technology conglomerate holding company based in Menlo Park, California. The company is the parent organization of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other subsidiaries.
In his address, Tobi Oluwatola, the Acting Executive Director of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), expressed appreciation to funders and all attendees who, he said, share a common interest in the fight against misinformation in the West African Region.
While reiterating that “the work the media does is crucial in today’s society’, he noted that misinformation is a danger to every society that requires special attention.
Jochen Luckscheiter, the Country Director (Nigeria), Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBS), expressed delight at the event, adding that the goal of IDWAC is in line with the aims of the foundation, and it will continue to support such initiatives.
He emphasised the need to understand the nature and structure of misinformation in every society.
“It is important to know the factors and behaviours that give fake news potency and are the issues that should be adopted globally,” Mr Jochen said.
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