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Facebook expands local language coverage in Africa to fight fake news

WASHINGTON (TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA) – Global social media network, Facebook, on Wednesday, announced that it had added new local language support for several African languages.

In collaboration with Africa Check, the addition is part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking program which helps assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and aims to reduce the spread of misinformation.

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Launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, Facebook has partnered with Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organization, to expand its local language coverage across Africa.

Nigeria, in Yoruba and Igbo, adding to Hausa which was already supported

Swahili in Kenya

Wolof in Senegal

Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele in South Africa

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“We continue to make significant investments in our efforts to fight the spread of false news on our platform, whilst building supportive, safe, informed and inclusive communities,” said Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa.

“Our third-party fact-checking program is just one of many ways we are doing this, and with the expansion of local language coverage, this will help in further improving the quality of information people see on Facebook. We know there is still more to do, and we’re committed to this.”Advertisements

Commenting, Noko Makgato, executive director of Africa Check, said “We’re thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme. In countries as linguistically diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, fact-checking in local languages is vital. Not only does it let us fact-check more content on Facebook, it also means we’ll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information.”

Facebook’s fact-checking program relies on feedback from the Facebook community. It is one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review.

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Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

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