October 22nd 2017

Top Stories / National

Plan to censure fake news on social media outlets in Kenya as elections dawn

But all in all the role of fact checking will be put in place during the relaying of the votes. The Kenyan high court ruled that the presidential vote would be announced in the constituency level and many are waiting with bated breath to see how it will impact the fake news come on 9th August.

By Reuben Gitahigitahireuben@gmail.comThursday, 03 Aug 2017 13:23 EAT

Facebook.

The social media sites, Face book and WhatsApp has unveiled new mechanisms of verifying fake news in the country.

Facebook has come up with styles of verifying stories that are deemed to be false and likely to cause disharmony in the country against a backdrop of a hotly contested election that is slated for Tuesday 8th August.

Some of the tips include verifying the URL of a website, checking the dates and photos, readers checking on hyperbole headlines.

The country has experienced an upsurge of fake news in the country and many believe that the growth of the social media in the country could have exacerbated the vice.

Just recently two reports appeared in the social media purportedly citing CNN report that President Uhuru Kenyatta was leading in the presidential race. But Kenyans were skeptical of the reports since the voice over did not meet the standards of the organization.

Another report that was distributed in the social media was that of opposition leader Raila Odinga being linked with corruption in the country. The clip had Transparency international logo which the organization refuted later.

According to many analysts this is the first Kenyan election where social media will play an integral part in the electioneering period with Communication Authority (CA) noting that it would not shut the social media during the voting period but would have to police the internet for any sites that infringed on security.

This has led to establishment of organizations that has curved a niche in fact checking information given by political leaders in the country during the electioneering period.

Africa check established in 2012  has come out as well to check the data given by politicians during the campaign and one of its most noted  role was during the much hyped presidential debate that Raila Odinga put a sterling performance albeit the lack of a main challenger since president Uhuru Kenyatta decided to keep away.

In their analysis Africa check managed to verify three main points during Raila Odinga debate: Inflation, Minimum wage and unemployment.

According to one of the editors at Africa Check Alfonse Shiundu Raila got the facts wrong on the minimum wage and unemployment but managed to get the facts right on inflation.

In the debate Raila said that the inflation had skyrocketed cumulatively by 40 percent since 2013 a fact that Africa check said was right but termed as false the facts on the minimum wage had increased by 12 percent and unemployment standing at 40 percent.

But all in all the role of fact checking will be put in place during the relaying of the votes. The Kenyan high court ruled that the presidential vote would be announced in the constituency level and many are waiting with bated breath to see how it will impact the fake news come on 9th August.

“It is how the country is able to get the facts right come the presidential election relaying from the constituency level that will make or break the country and the social media organization must act tough to prevent the country from burning”, noted Michael Wambete a media lecturer.

The writer is an experienced journalist, lecturer and researcher based in Nairobi





Stay Connected