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Facebook, together with Africa Check, expands its local language coverage

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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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Twitter Boss, Jack Dorsey Arrives In Nigeria

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Jack Dorsey Photo : AFP

Twitter CEO and Co-founder, Jack Dorseyy, has arrived in Nigeria.

Mr. Dorsey arrived on Thursday evening as part of his listening and learning tour across Africa.

After Nigeria, Mr Dorsey is also billed  to visit Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa.

While in Nigeria, the Twitter CEO  is expected to meet with leaders in the local technology and business ecosystem.

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Google launches mobile game service for android phones

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Google has  unveiled a subscription service for games and apps on Android-powered mobile devices in a direct challenge to Apple Arcade.

The Google Play, which was unveiled on Monday promised access to hundreds of “awesome” games free of ads or hawked virtual wares at the same $4.99 monthly subscription price as that of the Arcade service Apple launched last week for iOS devices.

“The Play Pass collection spans hundreds of titles, from games that help you unwind to apps that power productivity,” Google product manager Austin Shoemaker said in an online post.

“Play Pass is coming to Android devices in the US this week, and we’ll be bringing it to additional countries soon.”

Some of the game titles included in the launch will be Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

It will also include apps such as Accuweather which are free of in-app purchases, upfront payments or advertising.

Google said it will add new games and apps to the service each month. The internet giant also enticed people with a temporary offer to let them subscribe at a reduced price for the first year.

“Play Pass helps encourage people to try new experiences they would not have otherwise,” said Maria Sayans, chief executive of Monument Valley maker Ustwo games.

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Play Pass was announced just days after the launch of Apple Arcade, which rides a trend of video games played by subscribers instead of purchased as downloads or disks.

Apple Arcade offers unlimited access for a flat monthly price to more than 100 exclusive games uninterrupted by ads or the hawking of virtual goods.

Arcade, and now Play Pass, fit into a subscription model that is gaining traction, according to analysts.

AFP

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

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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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