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2023 Elections: How Meta is Working to Promote Election Integrity in Nigeria

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Meta on Wednesday revealed the steps it is taking to protect the integrity of the Nigeria elections taking place in 2023. This includes its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation and to make political advertising more transparent.

L-R: Ebuka Ogbodo, Public Policy Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Meta; Oluwasola Obagbemi, Corporate Communications Manager, Anglophone West Africa, Meta and Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy, Anglophone West Africa, Meta during a media roundtable focused on how Meta is preparing for Nigeria’s 2023 elections, which held in Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday December 7, 2022.

 This work will continue in the lead up to, during, and after voting and builds on Meta’s experience and learnings from supporting elections across Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.

Meta’s approach has also been informed by conversations with human rights groups, NGOs, local civil society organisations, regional experts and local election authorities – to help ensure the safety of people using Meta’s family of apps, customise election strategies for Nigeria, maintain the integrity of its platforms and keep users safe.

 Commenting at the event, Meta’s Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze said, “We know we have an important responsibility when it comes to helping keep people safe during the elections.

“Using lessons from the past  including input from experts and policymakers across the national spectrum, we’ve made substantial investments in people and technology to reduce misinformation, remove harmful content on our platforms, fight voter interference and promote civic engagement during the elections.

“We continue to work closely with election authorities and local partners in Nigeria to ensure we’re preparing for the specific challenges in Nigeria and taking appropriate steps to stay ahead of emerging threats.”

 Some of  the steps we are taking to prepare for the Nigerian elections include:

 ●        A dedicated cross functional team spread across the world as well as locally focused on  the Nigerian elections. This  includes a number of people from Nigeria and people who have spent significant amounts of time in the country, as we recognise that local understanding is critical. The team also includes individuals with global expertise in misinformation, hate speech, elections and disinformation. These teams are working hard to prevent any abuse of our services before, during and after Nigeria’s 2023 general elections. Locally, we also have staff who reside in Nigeria and work in the public policy, & public policy programmes and communications.

●        Keeping people safe: Since 2016 we have quadrupled the size of the global teams working on safety and security to about 40,000 people, and have invested more than $16 billion in teams and technology in this area. This also includes over 15,000 content reviewers, who are located across the globe, in every major timezone. Collectively, these reviewers are able to review content in more than 70 languages- including Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa.

●      Outlining our Community Standards  that publicly explain what is and isn’t allowed on our platforms to prioritise integrity on our platforms during and after elections.

●      Addressing virality: On WhatsApp bulk or automated messaging is a violation of our terms of service. If we find instances of people misusing the service we remove those accounts. We continue to constrain forwarding and earlier in 2022 we announced that any message that has been forwarded once, will now only be able to be forwarded to one group at a time, rather than five, which was the previous limit. When we introduced the same feature for highly forwarded messages, it reduced the number of these messages sent on WhatsApp by over 70%. We also label ‘forwarded’ and ‘highly forwarded’ messages to highlight when something has been shared multiple times. We’ve introduced forward limits to Messenger too, so messages can only be forwarded to five people or groups at a time.

●      Taking aggressive steps to fight the spread of misinformation on our services in Nigeria, because we know it’s important for people to see accurate information on Facebook and Instagram. We’re removing misinformation which could lead to imminent violence or physical harm and working with our fact-checking partners in Nigeria  – AFP, Africa Check and Dubawa – to review and rate potentially false content on our platforms, label it, and place it lower in our feed, so fewer people see it. To further educate Nigerians on how to spot false news and the actions to take, we’re partnering with local radio stations to create ‘#NoFalseNews’ radio dramas in English and Pidgin, executing a WhatsApp awareness campaign #YouSaid in Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and Pidgin to educate users to verify information before sharing and running online ads on Facebook and radio in Yoruba, Pidgin, Hausa and Igbo to educate people on how to spot false information.

●        Made political ads more transparent in Nigeria: Anybody who wants to run political ads in Nigeria must go through a verification process to prove who they are and that they live in Nigeria. These ads are labelled with a disclaimer, so you can see who paid for them and stored them in our public Ads Library for seven years, so that everyone can see what ads are running, what types of people saw them and how much was spent. We also offer controls so that people in Nigeria can choose not to see any of these political ads which run with a disclaimer.

●        Promoting civic engagement: Helping to build informed and civically engaged communities is central to our work around elections.  Our dedicated teams have engaged in training and conversations with civil society organisations, academia, political parties and government to inform them of our election integrity efforts.

 


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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AfDB Appoints Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho as Director of Statistics Department

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African Development Bank has appointed Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, an economist and statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department, effective June 16, 2024.

Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho

Dr Omotosho, a Nigerian national, has more than 21 years experience in developing data strategies to align with the strategic objectives of organisations. He also brings expertise in data compilation, data analytics, macroeconomic research, and policy analysis.

Omotosho previously served as Director of Research and Statistics at the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA) in Sierra Leone, where he was seconded from the Central Bank of Nigeria. At WAMA, he provided advice on monetary and economic integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Prior to that he held various positions within the Statistics and Research Departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

As an Assistant Director in the Statistics Department, he led the data analytics team and managed the Central Bank’s strategic initiatives on big data and data analytics. He oversaw projects aimed at enhancing data analytics capabilities for policymaking, automating surveys and statistical systems, improving data sharing infrastructure and developing social media listening tools. His leadership fostered a culture of data analytics within the Central Bank, driving innovation and efficiency in operational and policy processes.

Dr Omotosho holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom (2021); a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and Datamining from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom (2011); a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Benin, Nigeria (2008); and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria (2000).

He has contributed extensively to academic literature, with publications in reputable journals, including the Journal of Economic Dynamics & Control, Journal of International Money & Finance, Macroeconomic & Finance in Emerging Market Economies, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Journal of Applied Statistics. His research covers big data, econometrics, monetary and fiscal policy interactions, business cycle drivers, and the macroeconomic implications of resource shocks for small open, emerging economies.

Omotosho is a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, the International Association for Official Statistics, and the Royal Statistical Society.

Commenting on his appointment, he said, “I am grateful to President Adesina for this appointment, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the continued success and growth of the African Development Bank Group, an institution that plays such a pivotal role in the economic and social development of our beloved continent, Africa. I am fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities of the position while collaborating effectively with the Bank’s senior leadership team, colleagues, and other strategic partners.”

Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr Babatunde Samson Omotosho, a respected statistician, as Director of the Statistics Department. Dr Omotosho brings to this role an impressive track record in statistics, economics, and data analytics. He will support the Bank in building a robust data ecosystem to achieve our strategic objectives and sustain our long-term development goals.”


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ATII Awards Scholarship to Students

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A knowledge transfer and technology innovation hub, African Technology and Innovation Institutes (ATII) has awarded scholarships to ten pupils from Bridge International Academy, Lagos.

Through its Junior Scholars Program in partnership with Lumina Educational and Empowerment Foundation (Lumina), the scholarship will meet the educational needs of the benefitting pupils through their primary education, which is extendable to their university education.

The Junior Scholars Program is an offshoot of  ATII’s  Innovation, Leaders, Fellowship and Scholars Program that aims to empower and cater to the welfare of students aged 3-12 years from underprivileged and low-income communities by partnering with other organisations to provide scholarships for these rough diamonds.

In addition to the scholarship, ATII also provides STEM-based back-to-school kits and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) materials to spark their desire for education and to contribute to their communities in STEM-related fields.

In her congratulatory message, the Founder of ATII,  Prof. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua represented by Mr Sunday Awolowo, ATII’s Programs Manager, praised the students for their “outstanding academic excellence” and their “resolve to continue to improve in their academic pursuits, especially in the STEM fields.”

“We hope that the scholarships will continue to encourage you to do great work to pursue STEM. We hope one day in the future you all will be inspired to be an Engineer, a technologist, a mathematician or scientist,” Prof. Ekeng-Itua said.

The ATII Junior Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support students who are interested in pursuing careers in these fields.

Mrs Ezinne Tochie-Asogwa, Manager of Academics at Bridge International Academy, expressed her appreciation to ATII for the generous gesture.

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bridge International Academy, we appreciate the kind gesture of ATII.

ATII is passionate about the next generation of leaders and individuals who will change the world, pursuing its mission to promote African and Indigenous Technologies, while supporting human capital development in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ATII scholarships will provide financial assistance to the students as they continue their education in STEM fields. The program will also provide mentorship and support from ATII professionals.

 


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CBN, FintechNGR Chart the Way Forward to Enhance Nigeria’s Fintech Ecosystem

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In light of recent developments aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s fintech sector, Ade Bajomo, President of FintechNGR, led a team from the Association’s Governing Council in an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to chart the way forward.

Receiving the team at the CBN headquarters in Abuja, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, commended FintechNGR’s active advocacy efforts that have significantly improved the fintech ecosystem.

The Central Bank emphasized the need for the Association to work closely with stakeholders to operate within regulatory provisions, facilitate compliance, and establish robust risk management frameworks and governance structures.

Mr. Ikeazor stated, “The Central Bank understands the critical roles of fintechs in driving financial inclusion to the last mile. Our efforts are geared towards helping fintechs become more attractive to investors and achieve greater success.”

During the meeting, Ade Bajomo noted that while stakeholders strive to comply with regulatory requirements, they sometimes face challenges beyond their control.

“The common understanding within our ecosystem is that compliance makes the environment safer for all to innovate, scale, and collaborate. FintechNGR will ensure the co-creation of a support structure with the CBN to enhance compliance.”

Some of the initiatives the regulators plan to pursue with the ecosystem include making the 2024 Nigeria Fintech Week more impactful, enriching the activities of the Regulators Forum, organizing fintech learning series for various stakeholders, and exploring self-regulation status for FintechNGR to foster closer relationships with regulators.

FintechNGR remains committed to working with all regulators to better position the ecosystem to be more inclusive and impactful.

 


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