Last year, Facebook partnered with third party firms, Africa Check and AFP for the purpose of fact checking news disseminated on their platform.
One of the biggest hurdles in fact checking is that it requires one to understand context. One of the barriers to understanding context or a post is language and that is why you need fact checkers that know local languages. This aids in accurate translation of the news posted and it is crucial to support newer languages.
Well Facebook together with Africa Check have expanded their local language coverage as part of their third party fact checking programme. This is great since there are so many languages spoken and written in Africa, and supporting more of them is great for the initiative.
They have added support for 10 new languages in Africa which are listed below:
- Swahili in Kenya
- Wolof in Senegal
- Yoruba and Igbo in Nigeria
- Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele in South Africa
There is a code of conduct followed by third party checkers when they are doing this important work. The third party checkers are certified by the International Fact Checking network. Next, they check out the feed and if they certify a news item is false, these stories are ranked significantly lower on Facebook’s News Feed. This allows for such toxic content to be viewed 80% less, according to Facebook.
Africa has over 2000 official, national and spoken langues in the continent which means that there is a lot of ground to cover. There are over 200 million Facebook users from the continent which only forms around 10% of the total Facebook active user base. The supported languages are low but they are still a significant step in culling fake news from the News Feed.