Social media platforms under scrutiny ahead of Kenyan elections

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Kenyan authorities have given Facebook a week to comply with hate speech regulations after a report revealed the social media giant failed to address the issue ahead of next month’s election.

The warnings from the National Cohesion and Integration Commission follow the findings of a Global Witness investigation documenting how Facebook, owned by Meta Platforms Inc., failed to detect hateful ads in Kenya’s two official languages, English and Swahili.

Misinformation on social media has become a growing problem around the world, especially around elections. Kenya is holding what promises to be a hotly contested presidential poll on August 9, with Vice President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga the main contenders to replace Uhuru Kenyatta.

Meta said earlier this month that it has been working for a year to prepare for the election, using artificial intelligence, human reviews and user reports to remove content that is harmful or violates the standards of the company.

“In the six months to April 30, we took action against over 37,000 pieces of content for violating our hate speech policies on Facebook and Instagram in Kenya,” the group said in an update. day of July 20. Elections in the East African country have in the past been marred by violence.

Meta did not immediately comment on the INCC’s recommendation.

Kenya is not new to using social media for nefarious reasons during elections. During the 2017 vote, Cambridge Analytica was accused of secretly working with Kenyatta’s campaign, as reported by Channel 4. The country has one of the highest internet penetration rates in sub-Saharan Africa, at 85%.

Facebook isn’t the only platform under scrutiny. Twitter Inc. and newcomer TikTok are also being analyzed. Research by the Mozilla Foundation found that TikTok has become a “rapid and large-scale forum for political disinformation”, in a report published in June.


Facebook touts progress in fighting hate and violent content


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Quote: Social media platforms under scrutiny ahead of elections in Kenya (August 1, 2022) Retrieved September 6, 2022 from https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-social-media-platforms-scrutiny-kenyan.html

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