Fake news has become quite a menace the world over, made worse by how much perpetrators are able to make use of technology to make misinformation look more convincing, and also use the same technology to hide from authorities. One of the major avenues that people use to spread fake news is social media and it is only fair that those in the industry play a part
In a bid to detect potential false news, Facebook has rolled out a new campaign in East African countries to enlighten people on how to spot and identify them. The countries in which this has been rolled out Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. In this time of COVID-19, the world needs more accurate sources about the pandemic and Facebook has made significant investments to remove accounts that violate its community standards and ad policies. The network has also undertaken to reduce distribution of false news and to give people context on posts that they see, so that people can make a choice to read, trust and share.
Facebook is working in consultation with fact checking partners and together they have developed three questions to help stamp out false news. The adverts will ask people to challenge the information they see on posts by asking themselves the source, what is missing, and how they make them feel. People who make false news try to manipulate feelings.
The campaign is first being rolled-out to people across the East African region; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia as well as EU, the UK, and countries across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
To assess the effectiveness of these campaigns in helping people better understand what to trust, Facebook will follow this campaign with surveys to ask what people have learned. This information will help Facebook create more of these media literacy initiatives in the future.
This campaign comes high on the heels of last month’s context notification update, which lets people know when the news articles they are about to share are older than 90 days. Updates like this ensure that people have the context they need to make informed decisions about what to pass on to others on Facebook.
Through this COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, we’ll continue working with industry experts and people on our platforms to ensure we’re effectively tackling misinformation in this way, and giving them the resources they need to help spot and challenge the content they are seeing online.