Facebook Outlined Its Efforts to Protect Elections in Africa

The social network stopped accepting foreign political ads in Nigeria

On the day of the election ... Facebook

Facebook detailed steps it is taking to safeguard upcoming elections in Africa.

The social network is teaming up with local third-party fact-checkers in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon and Senegal to determine whether news shared via its platform is accurate and limit the distribution of content that is proven to be false.

Organizations working with Facebook include international news agency Agence France-Presse, Kenya’s Pesa Check and Nigeria’s Dubawa, Africa Check and CrossCheck Nigeria.

Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging application are also sharing tips on how to spot and flag fake news via outlets such as radio and print in Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The social network kicked off an online safety program in secondary schools in Nigeria last year to teach teenagers about online safety and digital literacy fundamentals such as managing their online presence, sharing via social media, public Wi-Fi safety, healthy online relationships, password security, privacy settings and identifying misinformation online.

Also in Nigeria, Facebook rolled out new ways for people to report posts containing incorrect election information, encouraging violence or violating its community standards, in both English and Hausa. In addition, voting day reminders will appear atop News Feed in both languages on election day in the country.

Facebook stopped accepting foreign election ads in Nigeria earlier this month, and people in that country can see all ads being run by pages.

Media groups and journalists across Nigeria are receiving training from Facebook on best practices for sharing content via its platform and adhering to its community standards.

Facebook said it has become much more effective at identifying accounts that impersonate other people or accounts.

The social network is working with several non-governmental associations and civil society partners across the continent, gaining feedback that it incorporated into its policies and programs.

Finally, Facebook worked to train parties, campaigns and candidates on security best practices, including two-factor authentication.

Facebook public policy manager for Africa elections Akua Gyekye wrote in a Newsroom post, “With a number of upcoming elections across Africa, we want to share an update on our work to reduce the spread of misinformation, protect election integrity and support civic engagement across the continent … We want Facebook and WhatsApp to be places where people feel safe, can access accurate information and make their voices heard. We are making significant investments, both in products and in people, and continue to improve in each of these areas.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.