Social media giant, Facebook, has scaled up its efforts to curb the spread of fake news by extending its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme to 10 additional African countries.
Facebook announced on Tuesday that it will be partnering with four independent fact-checking organizations in the counties to curb misinformation. They are; Agence France-Presse (AFP), the France 24 Observers, Pesa Check and Dubawa.
The programme will be available in Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia and Burkina Faso in partnership with AFP.
Facebook will rely on Pesa Check to verify posts in Uganda and Tanzania.
France 24 and AFP observers will help Facebook verify posts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.
Finally, the programme will be available in Ghana in partnership with Nigerian fact-checking platform Dubawa.
The countries join Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal where the programme is active.
The program, launched in 2018, helps monitor the accuracy of news shared on Facebook.
The organizations will review and rate video, text, and photo content that have been flagged as possibly containing fake news.
If one of the fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.
Kojo Boakye, Facebook head of public policy, Africa, stated that the expansion to cover 15 countries little over a year in the African continent, shows the commitment Facebook has to tackle the spread of Fake News.
“The expansion of third-party fact-checking to now cover 15 countries in a little over a year shows first-hand our commitment and dedication to the continent, alongside our recent local language expansion as part of this programme,” said Boakye.
“Taking steps to help tackle false news on Facebook is a responsibility we take seriously, we know misinformation is a problem, and these are important steps in continuing to address this issue.”
He, however, pointed out that, besides engaging third-party firms to verify Facebook user-generated content, the company is engaged in other initiatives that are aimed at countering the spread of fake news not just in the continent but around the world.
“We know that third-party fact-checking alone is not the solution, it is one of many initiatives and programmes we are investing in to help to improve the quality of information people see on Facebook.”
On his part, AFP Global News Director Phil Chetwynd, welcomed the partnership saying it was a step in the right direction in the era of misinformation.
“AFP is delighted to be expanding its fact-checking project with Facebook. We are known for the high quality of our journalism from across Africa and we will be leveraging our unparalleled network of bureaus and journalists on the continent to combat misinformation,” said Chetwynd.
In August, a joint statement by Africa Check and Facebook indicated that the languages covered will include South Africa’s Afrikaans; Swahili, widely spoken in Kenya; Nigeria’s Yoruba; and Wolof, native to Senegal.