I want to be believe Facebook is now stylishly dipping its hand into Nigerian politics? Currently, you cannot share anything carrying political contents on the platform. So what type of content are you allowed to share on Facebook?
Well, you may be on the right side if you sharing entertaining content, comedy videos and the likes.
Nevertheless, according to Facebook, many Nigerian Facebook users are using the platform to share political content, particularly issues related to 2019’s general election.
With this in mind, the company is offering to partner with INEC to help expand voter education and engage citizens meaningfully to achieve peaceful general elections in 2019. The offer was made when a team from Facebook led by its Public Policy Director for Africa, Ebele Okobi, paid a courtesy visit to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the agency’s headquarters.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman at INEC, meeting with Ebele Okobi, Public Policy Director for Africa at Facebook. Ebele said;
“People care very deeply about how they are governed, about who governs them and other political issues. Knowing that people come to the platform to talk about what they care about, we have developed a politics and government program essentially to understand how our platform is being used, not just during elections, but also to help governments engage with their citizens and also to see what the risks related to our platform in elections are and what opportunities and programs can be put in place to address the risks.”
Part of what Facebook has done so far is to pull down fake INEC pages on its platform in a move to ensure no false information is spread. They are also open to ideas on how best it could improve its services and the electoral processes in Africa, particularly in Nigeria.
However, the question is, given the way Facebook has been wrongly used in the past— case in point was when the Russians swayed public opinion during the 2016 US election by buying $100,000 worth of Facebook ads intended to create division. The ads which included anti-Muslim propaganda was meant to push people towards Trump and his hard stance on immigration. Facebook estimates that these ads were seen by about 10 million people—do you think it’s the best platform for promoting the elections in Nigeria?
That aside, it’s great to see a company like Facebook take an interest in what is going on in the country.