Facebook, together with Africa Check, expands its local language coverage - Mega Icon Magazine
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Facebook, together with Africa Check, expands its local language coverage



Facebook, today with Africa Check announced that it has added new local language support for several African languages as part of its Third-Party Fact-Checking programme – which helps to assess the accuracy of news on Facebook and aims to reduce the spread of misinformation.

Launched in 2018 across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon, Facebook has partnered with Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation, to expand its local language coverage across:

  • Nigeria, in Yoruba and Igbo, adding to Hausa which was already supported
  • Swahili in Kenya
  • Wolof in Senegal
  • Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele in South Africa

Kojo Boakye, Facebook Head of Public Policy, Africa, said: “We continue to make significant investments in our efforts to fight the spread of false news on our platform, whilst building supportive, safe, informed and inclusive communities. Our third-party fact-checking programme is just one of many ways we are doing this, and with the expansion of local language coverage, this will help in further improving the quality of information people see on Facebook. We know there is still more to do, and we’re committed to this.”

Commenting, Noko Makgato, executive director of Africa Check, said “We’re thrilled to be expanding the arsenal of the languages we cover in our work on Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme. In countries as linguistically diverse as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, fact-checking in local languages is vital. Not only does it let us fact-check more content on Facebook, it also means we’ll be reaching more people across Africa with verified, credible information.”

About Third-Party Fact-Checking
Facebook’s fact-checking programme relies on feedback from the Facebook community, as one of many signals Facebook uses to raise potentially false stories to fact-checkers for review. Local articles will be fact-checked alongside the verification of photos and videos. If one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners identifies a story as false, Facebook will show it lower in News Feed, significantly reducing its distribution.

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MiFMASS: Agency Offers Space Technology Service To Help Nigeria Combat Flooding




The perennial flooding challenge facing several states  in Nigeria has been described as one that can only be solved when environmental and disaster management organisations improve their level of collaboration.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education (CSSTE) situated in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Dr Ganiy Ishola Agbaje said this on Wednesday, August 28th,  2019 during a media chat with newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Dr Agbaje was in Ibadan to introduce the Multiscale Flood Monitoring and Assessment Services for West Africa (MiFMASS), to the media and other stakeholders in the management of flooding and other emergencies in the state.

While acknowledging the efforts of disaster management agencies and other stakeholders involved in flood management in the country, Dr Agbaje noted that the MiFMASS has only come to compliment ongoing efforts.

Representatives of the Red Cross, NIHSA, UIFMP, OYSEMA with members of the CSSTE Consortium at the event

The purpose of the project is to develop a number of services through which space technology and particularly satellite data can be used in preventing and mitigating the impact of flooding in the West African subregion.

The end product will see existing agencies in all the countries being trained on how to use space technology, analyze data and communicate relevant information to the grassroots through multiple channels.

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MiFMASS is being executed by a consortium of seven academic and research institutions from five West African countries namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin Republic and Nigeria with Agbaje’s CSSTE leading the project.

The project was facilitated under the European Union Commission’s Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) in collaboration with the African Union Commission.

CSSTE Consortium Secretary, Mrs Shonubi; CSSTE Director, Dr. Agbaje; IUFMP Communication Consultant, Mr Adefioye; and OYSEMA Secretary, Mr Aransi

Dr Agbaje, however urged  agencies like NIMET, NEMA, NIHSA and others  to embrace the type of collaboration that the CSSTE consortium now proposes in the interest of the masses, assuring them of better and more sustainable results for their efforts.

The Communication Consultant, for the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP), Mr Abiodun Adefioye was also present at the media briefing.

He lauded  the CSSTE for the idea and particularly their choice of Ibadan as their study site for the pilot stage of the project.

Adefioye, who acknowledged the history of Ibadan with floods, also reiterated his agency’s resolve to embrace every new idea that will make their job easier towards making life better for the people.

He assured the CSSTE consortium of their support and cooperation in making the project successful in Oyo state and eventually become one that would be adopted across Nigeria and other West African countries.

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The Secretary of the Oyo State Emergency Management Authority, Alh Lukman Aransi, also expressed delight at the foreign initiative, saying   that it aligns with the efforts of the state government in making flooding less devastating for the people.

Representatives of the Red Cross and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency were also present at the event to identify with the project.

In the last decade, the number of flood events (riverine flood, flash flood) in many West African countries have increased dramatically with serious impact on the economies of the affected countries.

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More Than 400m Facebook Users’ Phone Numbers Exposed In Privacy Lapse, New Reports Reveal




Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media on Wednesday disclosed.

According to technology news site – TechCruch,  an exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases — including 133 million US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain.

Technology website, TechCrunch, also  reported that the databases listed Facebook user IDs — unique digits attached to each account — the profiles’ phone numbers, as well as the gender listed by some accounts and their geographical locations.

The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases, and remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted the site’s host.

Facebook confirmed parts of the report but downplayed the extent of the exposure, saying that the number of accounts so far confirmed was around half of the reported 419 million.

It added that many of the entries were duplicates and that the data was old.

“The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook’s lax privacy settings to access millions of users’ personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.

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The exposure of a user’s phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping — as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.


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FaceApp now owns access to more than 150 million people’s faces, names




Everyone’s seen them: friends posting pictures of themselves now, and years in the future.

Viral app FaceApp has been giving people the power to change their facial expressions, looks, and now age for several years. But at the same time, people have been giving FaceApp the power to use their pictures — and names — for any purpose it wishes, for as long as it desires.

And we thought we learned a lesson from Cambridge Analytica.

More than 100 million people have downloaded the app from Google Play. And FaceApp is now the top-ranked app on the iOS App Store in 121 countries, according to App Annie.

While according to FaceApp’s terms of service people still own their own “user content” (read: face), the company owns a never-ending and irrevocable royalty-free license to do anything they want with it … in front of whoever they wish:

You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you. When you post or otherwise share User Content on or through our Services, you understand that your User Content and any associated information (such as your [username], location or profile will be visible to the public.

FaceApp terms of use
And it’s a good reason to be wary when any app wants access and a license to your digital content and/or identity.As former Rackspace manager Rob La Gesse mentioned today:

To make FaceApp actually work, you have to give it permissions to access your photos – ALL of them. But it also gains access to Siri and Search …. Oh, and it has access to refreshing in the background – so even when you are not using it, it is using you.


Rob La Gesse
The app doesn’t have to be doing anything nefarious today to make you cautious about giving it that much access to your most personal computing device.
By John Koetsier


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