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Facebook prepares for Nigeria’s elections, tightens noose on misinformation

By Adeyemi Adepetun
08 December 2022   |   4:02 am
Social media platform, Meta (Facebook), has said it is preparing adequately well for Nigeria’s elections coming up in 2023.

PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

Invests $16b in technology, teams to secure platform

Social media platform, Meta (Facebook), has said it is preparing adequately well for Nigeria’s elections coming up in 2023.

The media platform disclosed it is taking key steps to protect integrity of the elections, including combating spread of misinformation and making political advertising more transparent.

At a media roundtable on Nigeria’s 2023 election in Lagos, yesterday, the American firm explained that the work will continue in the lead up to, during, and after voting, and will build on Meta’s experience in supporting elections across sub-Saharan Africa and globally.

The media platform said its approach has also been informed by conversations with human rights groups, non-governmental organisations, local civil society organisations, regional experts and local election authorities.

The initiative will help ensure the safety of people using Meta’s family of apps, customise election strategies for Nigeria, maintain the integrity of its platforms and keep users safe.

To ensure the platform is up and doing before, during and after the elections, Meta said it has invested $16 billion to secure the platform for improved user experience.

It stressed that it has always been active in elections globally, from U.S.A to France and across sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Angola and Senegal.

Meta’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze, said: “We know we have an important responsibility when it comes to helping keep people safe during the elections. Using lessons from the past, including input from experts and policymakers across the national spectrum, we’ve made substantial investments in people and technology to reduce misinformation, remove harmful content on our platforms, fight voter interference and promote civic engagement during the elections.

“We continue to work closely with election authorities and local partners in Nigeria to ensure we’re preparing for the specific challenges in Nigeria and taking appropriate steps to stay ahead of emerging threats.”

On having a dedicated team ahead of the election, Meta said this includes a number of people from Nigeria and people who have spent significant amounts of time in the country, because of the fact that local understanding is critical.

Meta said the team also includes individuals with global expertise in misinformation; hate speech, elections and disinformation.

It stated: “These teams are working hard to prevent any abuse of our services before, during, and after Nigeria’s 2023 general elections. Locally, we also have staff, who reside in Nigeria and work in the public policy and public policy programmes and communications.”

Meta said: “Since 2016, we have quadrupled the size of the global teams working on safety and security to about 40,000 people, and have invested more than $16 billion in teams and technology in this area. This also includes over 15,000 content reviewers, who are located across the globe, in every major time zone. Collectively, these reviewers are able to review content in more than 70 languages, including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.”

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