It’s 11 Months away from Nigeria’s next elections and preparations are being made to elect a new or retain the current president of Nigeria – Muhammadu Buhari. Facebook had a pleasant package for the Nigerian community.
The team from Facebook, led by Ebele Okobi – Facebook’s Public Policy Director for Africa – met with Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to discuss various ways in which they could work together on voter education and citizen engagement. The conclusion from the meeting was this: Facebook will help Nigeria with its upcoming presidential elections which are scheduled for February 2019.
The Kenyan Polls
It is worthy to note that this initiative with Facebook isn’t the first to happen on the African continent. In 2017, the social media company ran some voter education campaigns leading up to Kenya’s presidential elections. Given how widely fake news became a problem leading up to Kenya’s elections in 2017, Facebook published an “information tool” and some guidelines on how Kenyans can spot fake news especially related to the polls.
“People care very deeply about how they are governed, about who governs them and other political issues. Knowing that people come to the platform to talk about what they care about, we have developed a politics and government programme essentially to understand how our platform is being used, not just during elections, but also to help governments engage with their citizens and also to see what the risks related to our platform in elections are and what opportunities and programmes can be put in place to address the risks,” said Okobi.
Part of what Facebook has done thus far leading up to the 2019 Nigerian general elections is to pull down fake INEC pages on its platform in a move to ensure no false information is spread.