Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other products and services, has announced policies to protect the integrity of the 2023 general elections.
The company said the steps include efforts to combat the spread of misinformation, make political advertising more transparent, remove harmful content, fight voter interference and promote civic engagement during the elections.
Some of the strategies announced by the company in a statement include taking aggressive steps to fight the spread of misinformation by removing false content, which could lead to imminent violence or physical harm.
Meta’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze said its fact-checking partners will review and rate potentially false content and label it.
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“To further educate Nigerians on how to spot false news and the actions to take, we’re partnering with local radio stations to create ‘#NoFalseNews’ radio dramas in English and Pidgin, executing a WhatsApp awareness campaign #YouSaid in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and Pidgin to educate users to verify information before sharing and running online ads on Facebook and radio in Yoruba, Pidgin, Hausa and Igbo to educate people on how to spot false information,” it said.
It also announced a dedicated cross functional team spread across the world as well as locally focused on the Nigerian elections, stressing that the team includes individuals with global expertise in misinformation, hate speech, elections and disinformation.
“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 programmes and communications,” it added.
The company added that political ads will be made more transparent by ensuring that anybody who wants to run such ads in Nigeria goes through a verification process to prove who they are and that they live in the country.
It said the ads are labelled with a disclaimer so that users can see who paid for them while Meta will store them in its public Ads Library for seven years. It said it will also offer controls so that people in Nigeria can choose not to see any of these political ads which run with a disclaimer.
It stressed that bulk or automated messaging is a violation of the terms of service on Whatsapp and it will not hesitate to remove accounts that violate the policy.
While announcing its commitment to promoting civic engagement and its community standards, it noted that it has invested more than $16 billion in its global teams working on safety and security as well as the technology they use.
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