Facebook and WhatsApp introduce tool to help fight fake news ahead of Kenya elections

Social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp have become a key conduit for false news

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Facebook is rolling out the feature at a critical time when fake news has become a central concern in Kenya’s election.

Th social media giant is taking its campaign to the real world by placing full-page ads in local newspapers and radio stations with its guidance for identifying disingenuous reporting.

These tips will show at the top of the News Feed and provide up to 10 points on catching fake stories.

Facebook's fake news detector will closely inspect URLs, checking the dates and photos, and investigating the sources of a story.

The social media network explains that the move is part of its mission to limit hate speech, incitement, or violence, and to encourage users to report anything that violates these policies.

A recent nationwide survey showed that nine out of 10 Kenyans had heard or seen fake stories, with 87% reporting instances of deliberately false news.

“We take fake news issues seriously because people want to see accurate information on Facebook,” Ebele Okobi, the director of policy for Facebook Africa, said.

The problem of fake news in Kenya has hit both local and international media outlets.

Communication Authority in the country says although it “will not shut down the internet during the electioneering period” it will clamp down on the “sites that will be used to spread hate speech.”

For Facebook, the rolling out of the tool in Kenya is a continuation of its efforts to build new products to curb the spread of false news, disrupt the economic incentives behind it, and get users to make informed decisions.

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