Facebook has announced that it has added African language support as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme in partnership with Africa Check. The programme is part of the social media company's efforts to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and hopefully reduce the spread of misinformation.

Facebook's Third-Party Fact-Checking programme was launched in 2018 across 5 African countries including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon.

“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’re committed to this,” said Kojo Boakye, Head of Public Policy for Africa at Facebook.

Fighting fake news

Facebook's fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

To this effect, Facebook has partnered with Africa Check to expand its African language coverage across:

  • Nigeria, in Yoruba and Igbo, adding to Hausa which was already supported
  • Swahili in Kenya
  • Wolof in Senegal
  • Afrikaans, isiZulu, Setswana, SeSotho, Sepedi andisiNdebele in South Africa

"We're thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook's third-party fact-checking programme. In countries as linguistically diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, fact-checking in local languages is vital. Not only does it let us fact-check more content on Facebook, it also means we'll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information," said
Noko Makgato, Executive Director of Africa Check.

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