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Facebook showcases how its fighting fake news ahead of 2019 general elections

Tom Miller, Facebook’s politics and govt Outreach manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa said the company will continue to ensure that the integrity of the Nigerian Elections is protected.

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Facebook showcases how its fighting fake news ahead of 2019 general elections play

INEC Ballot box.

(Channels)

As part of its continued commitment to tackling false news, fake accounts and hate speech, as well as improving the transparency of advertising on its platform, Facebook today held an Election Integrity Exhibition for media, civil society partners and other stakeholders in Nigeria.

Outlining the work it has been doing in Nigeria, the exhibition also focused on how Facebook is dealing with bad actors; tackling fake accounts; improving the transparency of advertising and pages; and reducing the distribution of false news in the run-up to the 2019 Nigerian general elections.

Taking the media through the tour, Tom Miller, Facebook’s Politics & Government Outreach Manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa said that the company takes the integrity of elections seriously.

Miller added that the company will continue to explore multiple measures and partnerships to ensure that the integrity of the Nigerian Elections is protected.

He emphasized that teams across the company are committed to ensuring Facebook remains a safe platform for all.

“Our goal is to continue launching measures to ensure the integrity and safety of the Nigerian Elections, so that we can continue to drive positive social and economic impact across Sub-Saharan Africa, drive innovation by supporting Africa's tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and also train communities and the next generation of leaders to better understand and utilise the power of digital tools for civic engagement,” Miller said.

Facebook cares about Nigeria

Highlighting Facebook’s commitment to fighting the spread of false news and hate speech on the platform, Akua Gyekye, Public Policy lead for Anglophone West Africa, said that Facebook cares about Nigeria and is invested in the country.

Gyekye said “Facebook's mission is clear: to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together. Our mission in Nigeria is no different - we understand the importance of being local in a global world - and want to have a positive long-term impact.”

“In addition, we want to support people who want to be more civically engaged and connect with issues they care about— not just on Election Day, but every day. We do this through a variety of activities, such as partnering with civil society organisations focused on increasing voter education, building tailored Civic Engagement tools which are relevant for Nigeria, and by raising digital literacy by sharing tips on how to spot false news with our community," she added.

Gyekye restated Facebook’s policy of remaining impartial, saying that the platform allows all political ideas to be expressed as long as they are within Facebook's Community Standards.

ALSO READ: Police warn social media users, bloggers against fake news

She also stressed the need for people to be vigilant, especially during the election period, and to report any content that they feel might be in contravention of Facebook's Community Standards. “We encourage our community to flag content to us that they don't think should be on the platform - whether it's a picture, a written post, a video – reporting is completely anonymous and confidential and can be done in three simple steps. This allows our Community Operations team to review the content and remove anything that's violating our Community Standards.”

This is coming after a BBC report highlighting how fake news led to the death of many people in the recent communal clashes in Jos, Plateau state.

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