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NIGERIA: Facebook Fights Fake News Scourge With Africa Languages

By Published August 16, 2019

Facebook is using African languages like Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa to curb the scourge of fake news on its platform according to Facebook’s Africa head of public policy.

Kojo Boakye said in a statement in Lagos that the Yoruba and Igbo languages will be added Hausa language which is already supported by the platform.

In collaboration with Africa Check, Boakye said Facebook is adding new local language to its platform to support several African languages as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme.

The programme would help to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and reduce the spread of misinformation.

According to him, the programme was launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which included South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cameroon.

"Facebook has partnered with Africa Check, Africa's first independent fact-checking organisation, to expand its local language coverage across Nigeria (Yoruba and Igbo), adding to Hausa which was already supported.

"We have also expanded our local language coverage across Kenya (Swahili), Senegal (Wolof), as well as South Africa (Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele).

"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.

"Our third-party fact-checking programme 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 are committed to this," Mr Boakye said.

The Executive Director, Africa Check, Noko Makgato, said the organisation was delighted to be expanding the arsenal of the languages it covered in its work on Facebook's third-party fact-checking programme.

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