Facebook spends $16b on tech, others for Nigeria’s polls

December 8, 2022
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Facebook’s parent company, Meta, yesterday said since 2016, it has quadrupled the size of its global teams working on safety and security to about 40,000 people and has invested more than $16 billion in teams and technology ahead of Nigeria’s elections.

Speaking on the steps it was taking to protect the integrity of the elections, the company said it was also combating the spread of misinformation and making political advertising more transparent.

Meta’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze, who addressed reporters on the company’s activities, said the steps also included over 15,000 content reviewers located across the globe, in every major time zone. Collectively, she said, the reviewers are able to peruse content in more than 70 languages, including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.

According to her, this work will continue in the build-up to, during, and after voting and builds on Meta’s experience and learnings from supporting elections across sub-Saharan Africa and globally.

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.”

The Meta chief stressed that some of the steps the company was taking to prepare for the Nigerian elections included creation of a dedicated cross-functional team spread across the world as well as locally focused on the Nigerian elections.

These, she added, include a number of people from Nigeria and people who have spent significant time in the country.

According to her, Meta recognised that local understanding is critical.

Ikenze said the team also includes individuals with global expertise in misinformation, hate speech, elections and disinformation.

The Meta chief said these teams work hard to prevent any abuse of the company’s services before, during and after the 2023 general election.

Locally, Meta has workers that reside in Nigeria and work in the public policy, and public policy programmes and communications, she said.

Ikenze said the company would continue to outline its Community Standards that publicly explain what is and isn’t allowed on the platforms to prioritise integrity during and after elections.

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