TechInAfrica – Facebook has partnered with an independent fact check organization, Africa Check, for its local language expansion coverage. Facebook was launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cameroon. The included regions are
- 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
The addition of these local languages will help assessing the news accuracy on Facebook while reducing the number of misinformation. Kojo Boakye, the Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, wish to fight the spread of false news on their platform as they build a supportive, safe, informed and inclusive communities.
“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 further improving the quality of information people see on Facebook,” Boakye added.
For a linguistically rich country as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal, fact-checking using local languages is a significant step for the team, meaning more contents within their grasp. Executive Director of Africa, Noko Makgato commented,” We’re thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program. We’ll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information.”
The program relies on the Facebook community’s feedback since it acts as one of the many signals Facebook uses to raise potential false news for reviewers. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. Facebook will reduce the content distribution when the fact check program labeled the story as ineligible, and Facebook does this by lower the content spot on News Feed.