Meta (formerly known as Facebook), has announced steps it was taking to protect the integrity of Nigeria’s 2023 elections.
This, it listed to include efforts to combat the spread of misinformation and to make political advertising more transparent.
It stressed that the work would continue in the lead up to, during, and after voting and builds on Meta’s experience and learnings from supporting elections across Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.
Commenting at the event, 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.
“Some of the steps we are taking to prepare for the Nigerian elections include: A dedicated cross functional team spread across the world as well as locally focused on the Nigerian elections. This includes a number of people from Nigeria and people who have spent significant amounts of time in the country, as we recognise that local understanding is critical.
“The team also 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, & public policy programmes and communications.”
Ikenze listed others to include keeping people safe, noting that 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 timezone. Collectively, these reviewers are able to review content in more than 70 languages- including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.
“On WhatsApp bulk or automated messaging is a violation of our terms of service. If we find instances of people misusing the service, we remove those accounts. We continue to constrain forwarding and earlier in 2022 we announced that any message that has been forwarded once, will now only be able to be forwarded to one group at a time, rather than five, which was the previous limit.
“When we introduced the same feature for highly forwarded messages, it reduced the number of these messages sent on WhatsApp by over 70 per cent.
“We also label ‘forwarded’ and ‘highly forwarded’ messages to highlight when something has been shared multiple times. We’ve introduced forward limits to Messenger too, so messages can only be forwarded to five people or groups at a time.”