In October last year Facebook announced a partnership with Africa Check and AFP to launch a third-party fact checking programme in a bid to combat the dissemination of false reporting on the continent.

Now the number of languages that the programme will fact check on is increasing, with six more South African languages added to the mix, as well as a handful of African ones. For SA the following have been added: Afrikaans, Zulu, Setswana, Sotho, Northern Sotho and Southern Ndebele.

As for other native African languages: Yoruba and Igbo in Nigeria, Swahili in Kenya, and Wolof in Senegal have been added.

“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,” says Kojo Boakye, Facebook head of Public Policy in Africa.

“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,” Boakye adds.

Naturally Africa Check has also welcomed the expansion, especially as it allows the organisation to better monitor content being shared on the social media platform.

“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,” notes Noko Makgato, executive director of Africa Check.

With Facebook becoming an increasingly important platform for the way people on the content get their news and form opinions, having these sorts of measures in place is welcome.