Facebook Tackles Fake News against 2017 Kenya Elections


Facebook Tackles Fake News against 2017 Kenya ElectionsFacebook have set up a fake news detection tool to help Kenyan users spot fake news. This action would help to guide Kenyans against being mislead by fake news on the Facebook. Now that the Presidential election is around the corner, supporters of rival candidates are prone to put up fake articles that would lure the minds of voters to their own candidates.


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If you could recall four years ago,  these two old rivals Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta faced themselves. Kenyatta’s innovative optimization of the social media led to his success. However this time, Kenya is dancing to another tone of social media posts. FAKE NEWS. The speed at which fake news surfaces in Kenya and the rate at which it spreads has now become a big problem in Kenya.



On Tuesday, Kenyans will have to pick a President, parliament and regional representatives. The veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga is running against the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta. Lots of conspiracy theories and accusations have sprung up as a result of the torture and murder of a senior official at the electoral commission last weekend.



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Both candidates have exhibited a very tight race, and supporters have lashed out on each other via social media. A survey of 2,000 Kenyans carried out through mobile phone messaging found that nine out of every 10 respondents had seen fake news and half of consumers got news through social media, according to a study by Geopoll and Portland Communications last month.



“Fake news is increasingly becoming a big problem in Kenya,” said Alphonce Shiundu, the Kenya editor of Africa Check, a non-profit organization seeking to boost fact checking and news gathering on the continent. Kenya has about 7 million monthly users, therefore this tool will help Kenyans evaluate the content of Facebook posts. The tool will lead users to a page with tips on how to spot fake news, including checking web addresses and sources and looking for other reports on the topic, Facebook said in a statement.



Fake news will influence the minds of Kenyans towards this election, and it would also attract readers to fake news websites. This could also generate advertising revenues. This method was spotted during the U.S Presidential election last year. Facebook is fighting to cut financial incentives for fake news websites. Facebook is also looking forward to locking fake user accounts, limiting spam and reducing links to suspect pages.



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“People want to see accurate information on Facebook,” said Ebele Okobi, director of policy at Facebook Africa. Shiundu the Kenya editor of Africa Check also said, “From the kinds of things that we have seen doing rounds online, on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, and websites mimicking real news sites, we get the sense that there’s a lot of false content about the elections.”



Africa check said that One of the most recent examples of Kenya’s Fake election News was a photograph of a crumbling bridge in a section a a new $3.2 billion railway that Kenyatta prides on as one of his main achievements With this tool, Facebook’s seven million Kenyan users wouldn’t be mislead. This new tool will also be complemented by Newspaper and Radio Adverts.



However, it’s just the fake news that worries Kenyans. In the past few weeks, attention has focused on Kenyatta’s reported relationship with Cambridge Analytica (an international data crunching firm with links to US President Donald Trump and reportedly the Brexit campaign in Britain). Kenyans are now very inquisitive and wondering, what is Cambridge Analytica up to this time?



What do you think about these candidates? Can Facebook alone be able to solve the Fake news issue?



Join the conversation. Leave a comment.



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