Facebook Is Launching Its 1st Center To Police Content In African Languages

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Facebook is launching it’s first content review center in Kenya to police content on the social media platform in several African languages.

The content review center, which will be located in Nairobi, is the first of its kind in Africa, according to Techmoran.

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The goal is to expand Facebook’s ability to review content posted in African languages including Somali, Oromo, Swahili and Hausa.

Close to 100 people are expected to be employed in the new offices by the end of 2019, according to TheStandard.

The content moderation center will be run in partnership with Samasource, a non-governmental organization in Nairobi that specializes in building capacity and providing training services for online jobs.

The content that reviewers will look out for includes misrepresentation, nudity, hate speech and other forms of online abuse — the same content that Facebook already claims it reviews, removes or limits.

In addition to reviews by actual people in review centers, Facebook uses artificial intelligence and machine learning tech to identify harmful content, according to ITNewsAfrica.

African languages
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, takes a selfie with Tony Elumelu, Chairman of United Bank of Africa, during a family picture with guests who attend the “Tech for Good” Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (Charles Platiau,Pool via AP)

Facebook has been under pressure from European regulators to establish more content review centers due to data and privacy violations, according to Forbes.

Fake news on social media has been a problem throughout the world, and Kenya has experienced this issue for a few years.

In an effort to limit hate speech and combat fake news in Kenya ahead of the 2017 national elections, Facebook launched a tool that aimed to educate users on how to identify stories that were genuine from those that were fake, according to ITNewsAfrica.

The social media site provided a tool at the top of user news feeds, available in English and Swahili, where users were directed to the Facebook Help Center. There, they were given access to information to help them determinie which news articles were fake.

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Facebook says its new review center in Kenya is taking the fight a step further against fake news.

A first for African languages

Facebook has multiple content review centers across the globe, policing content in numerous languages. This is a first for African languages, according to CNBCAfrica.

The 100-or-so employees who will run the Kenyan moderation center join around 30,000 reviewers for the company around the world who are tasked with reviewing content when it has been reported by other users.

The review center in Nairobi will moderate content that is posted or shared in the more common East or West African languages.