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ELECTIONS: Nigerian Coy Launches App To Combat Fake News

Rise Networks, a Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Company, released the “Run-Am” smartphone app on Friday in Abuja to verify fake news and battle misinformation during the electioneering period.

Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Founder of Rise Networks, stated that the platform, which is available on Google Play, is a tool that would ensure information efficiency and accountability during the 2023 elections and beyond.
She stated that the MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Information, Technology, and Development had given their support to the project (CITAD).

According to her, the app includes a news verification feature, an image verification feature, and a voter education component to combat disinformation that could lead to violence during elections.

“During elections, fake news is used to create a lot of voter apathy, so you see a lot of news like 50 people have been killed in a particular local government.
“And because of that, people who have their PVCs will not want to come out to vote because they are afraid.

“But when you find out, you will see that that information is not true but when voters do not turn up, that is when it will be easy for them to rig the elections.
“And those are the kind of problems the Run-Am App intend to solve,” she said.

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She added that the organisation was working to ensure that the App is run in our local languages and pidgin English, for easy accessibility of all Nigerians.

Mr Victor Aluko, Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) appreciated the company for its efforts at combating fake news that may undermine the electoral processes in the country.
“We are going into a serious elections which will be contested by powerful individuals and political parties and you will see a situation where the electoral process will be pulled in various directions.
“When we have that, you will see a lot of combination of fake news, misinformation and disinformation and we are looking at how we can manage our results to make sure that people don’t misinform Nigerians.

“So when we have this type of App, from reputable organisations like this, we tend to identify with them and express our happiness that this is coming from a Nigerian organisation,” he said.

For his part, Mr Dayo Olaide, Deputy Country Director, MacArthur Foundation Africa Office, added that democracy had continued to be faced with global threats across the globe.

He added that to save the country’s democracy, Nigerians must begin to pay more attention to electoral accountability and call out those who make inflammatory statements and spread fake news.
“As we launch the App today, we will need our citizens that to go beyond exposing those misinformation but begin to demand that those who are driving this type of attack against our democracy are brought to book.

“That responsibility is not only that of INEC, it is a shared responsibility, the government, citizens and also the media must hold all actors accountable for their actions,” he added.

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