Social media website, Facebook has offered its platform to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for education of voters ahead of the 2019 general election.
Mr. Ebele Okobi, Facebook Public Policy Director for Africa, made the offer when he led a team from the social media company on a courtesy visit to the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakub on Friday.
Mr. Okobi told INEC Chairman that many Nigerian Facebook users are using the platform to share political content, particularly issues related to 2019 general election and the electoral body could explore the opportunity of the wide reach of the website to engage the millions of users in proper voter education.
Okobi 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.”
In his response, Prof. Yakub thanked Facebook for its offer and expressed the commission’s readiness to work with the networking site.
Mr. Yakubu said many Nigerians rely on Facebook and other social media sites for news about Nigeria and places around the world.
He noted that Facebook has over 80 million users in Nigeria, thus making the country one of the leading users on the continent.
INEC Chairman also thanked Facebook for taking down parody accounts of the commission from its platform and for putting mechanisms in place for checking hate speech and fake news.
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