Fact-checking organisations in Africa are deploying innovative methods and technologies to aid fact-checking efforts and counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation on the continent.
This was revealed on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at the just concluded West Africa Journalism Innovation Conference (WAJIC), hosted by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development.
Speaking at a panel session on Innovative Trends in Verification, the Nigerian Editor of Africa Check, David Ajikobi raised an alarm over the rising challenge of misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information plaguing the African continent, particularly during recent elections in West African countries.
Highlighting the power of collaboration in the face of this menace, Ajikobi lauded the Nigerian fact-checkers’ solidarity in their joint efforts to combat misinformation during Nigeria’s 2023 general elections.
He added that Africa Check‘s strategies include leveraging Artificial Intelligence, academic research, and strategic partnerships with radio stations to bolster their fact-checking activities.
“Some people wake up daily to spread false information and that’s where they earn their living,” Busari lamented.
Expressing frustration with tech companies, Busari lamented the failure of technology companies to take responsibility and complement the efforts of fact-checking organisations.
“Shortly before the 2023 election, I had a couple of training sessions across the country and in the process of making some of my slides, I went online to look for some of the major false information that were spread in Nigeria’s 2019 general election. It would interest you that some of these false information that had already been fact-checked are still on Twitter and still exist on Facebook,” Busari told the over 200+ audience at the conference.
He further showcased how fact-checkers can combine investigative journalism with fact-checking using the ‘Baba Aisha Herbal medicine’ story he authored which revealed the health hazards posed to Nigerians by the herbal medicine.
Speaking on his organisation’s innovative efforts to reach wider audience, Opeyemi Kehinde, The FactCheckHub Editor and National Coordinator of the Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition, said The FactCheckHub is translating fact-checked contents into Nigerian local languages such as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba to reach the under-served local communities.
In his presentation titled: ‘Curbing misinformation with trivia game – Get it right,’ he showcased how a collaboration between his organisation, ICIR and Digital Public Square (DPS) birth the innovative trivia game – Get It Right – a gamified platform designed to provide engaging fact-checking content while collecting meaningful data about Nigerians’ attitudes and beliefs about misinformation and disinformation.
“The game is very interactive,” Kehinde noted while presenting the trivia game. “The essence is to strengthen individual’s critical thinking ability and ensure people pay keen attention to information they consume from traditional media, online and social media platforms.”
Monsur Hussain, the innovation lead at the CJID also demonstrated an indigenous social listening tools which automatically listens, transcribes, and extracts claims from radio programmes in order to ease the verification process for fact-checkers.
In her remark, Hannah Ajakaiye, the Team Lead of FactsMatterNG, shared how her organisation transforms fact-checked content into captivating videos using video platforms like Lumen5.
She said this approach allows fact-checking organizations to reach wider audiences and captivate viewers with engaging visual content.
Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via email@example.com and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.