Facebook uses a hybrid system of human moderators and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to check misinformation. It partners with certified independent third-party fact-checking organisations — over 27 partners across 88 countries — to identify, review, and confirm potentially inaccurate content to curb viral misinformation. These content are usually first flagged as inaccurate by feedback from users, Facebook’s signal technology, or fact-checkers.
Once confirmed inaccurate, the post visibility across timelines is reduced, and if it must be seen, it is labelled based on the fact-checkers rating – false, partly false, altered, missing context, satire, and true.
However, publishers can dispute a rating and request that the content’s validity is rechecked. But users cannot dispute the rating on any content they didn’t create.
Of course, these fact-checking firms are not without their accusation of bias. Besides, Facebook has yet to completely figure out what ‘inaccurate information’ means. The fact-checking procedure became necessary after the platform was used to push hate speech that led to the mass killings of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar in 2018.
But it’s worthy of note that Facebook and some independent fact-checkers don’t seem to agree
According to Facebook, independent fact-checkers responsible for Nigeria include Africa Check Nigeria, AFP Nigeria, and Dubawa. When Africa Check joined the list of partners in 2018, it intended to focus on bogus health cures, false crime rumours, pyramid schemes, and other kinds of content that can lead to poor decisions and physical harm.
Ironically, one of Facebook’s partners, AFP, acknowledges Amnesty International Nigeria’s report about the killings in Lagos.
So it is not completely clear how Facebook came to the conclusion that the #LekkiMassacre-related content were false. In fact, while they are flagged on Facebook and Instagram, YouTube and Twitter seem to accept them.
Twitter particularly has been the major platform adopted to push the #EndSARS movement, with validation from Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey. (See Here)
Misinformation is not new on social media especially as they now compete with new media platforms. It appears Facebook is yet to get its acts together on what it considers false information. In the meantime, it is up to users to rely on trusted media rooms.