Nigerian Media Debuts Collaborative Project to Fight Fake News Ahead of Elections

(file photo).

At least 15 Nigerian organizations debuted a collaborative online platform Wednesday to combat fake news ahead of the country’s February elections.

The Crosscheck Nigeria blog brings together competing newsrooms to investigate questionable claims, especially on social media. The collaboration was proposed by First Draft, a Harvard University-based project dedicated to fight fake news around the world, in partnership with the International Center for Investigative Reporting in Nigeria.

Completed investigations will appear on the site only when at least five of the partners have approved their work.

As of Wednesday evening, the site already had two posts — one discrediting a story about Russian President Vladimir Putin originating from a fake Al Jazeera Facebook page, and another fact-checking a politician who released photos he falsely claimed depicted the Nigerian military attacking the terror organization Boko Haram.

Nigeria often struggles with fake news. One of the most persistent examples is an online rumor that President Muhammadu Buhari, 75, who is running for reelection, died during his lengthy treatment in London for an unspecified illness in 2017.

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