Facebook and Comic Republic have announced the launch of #NoFalseNewsZone online comic book, an exciting and educational comic series designed to help people think critically about the messages they see and read online. The series helps readers to identify false news and what they can do to help minimise its spread.
The online comic book, which comes in a three-part series will feature the stories of an experienced nurse, an intern reporter and a university student who are on their personal journey to educate people on how to curb false news, and also join the fight against misinformation to help create a #NoFalseNewsZone online.
“Facebook is excited to launch its #NoFalseNewsZone online comic book in collaboration with Comic Republic. We’ve come up with relatable and exciting stories to keep people entertained as we educate them on how to minimise its spread,” Oluwasola Obagbemi, Facebook’s Corporate Communications Manager for Anglophone West Africa said, while commenting on the launch. “As a pioneer of innovation for human connection through social presence, Facebook has given people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together in new and profound ways. Our hope is that with this online comic book, people will make informed decisions by thinking critically about what they read, trust and share,” Obagbemi added.
Speaking on the collaboration, Comic Republic CEO, Jide Martin said: “In a world where we are online for everything essential, it is now critical that we protect our new reality. More than ever, with just one tap online, you can either make or mar a life. As such, we must all be accountable for the information we share on social media. Comic Republic’s mission is rooted in storytelling for a cause, so the #NoFalseNewsZone campaign is right up our alley and such a thrill to work on. I urge people to read and pass it on but most of all, really think before you share unverified messages with their contacts. We don’t need superpowers to do good.”
Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban Seven Months After Shutting it Down
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that Twitter Ban be lifted seven months after the federal government suspended the micro logging platform operations in Nigeria.
The Director of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who also doubles as the Chairman, Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement made this known in a statement on Wednesday, in Abuja. According to him, the approval for the suspension of the ban follows a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022. The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“In the Memo, the Minister updated and requested the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation,” Abdullahi said.
It can be recalled that Twitter’s operation was suspended seven months ago, on June 6, 2021 after the microblogging platform deleted a tweet by President Buhari, where he warned those (believed to be members of the Independent People of Biafra- IPOB) destroying INEC’s properties and buildings.
Since then, there has been a back and forth between the federal government who demanded that Twitter open a Nigerian Office and pay taxes, and the microblogging service. However, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in November last year, revealed that correspondence between the federal government and Twitter had reached an advanced stage. He noted that with a few issues to resolve, Twitter had been able to meet 10 out of twelve.
According to British firm, Top10VPN, the ban had affected around 104.4 million internet users in Nigeria. NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool also revealed that the ban costs Nigeria’s economy N103 million every hour. A week after the suspension, many Nigerians took to downloading Virtual Private Networks to access their Twitter accounts in the country.
French Privacy Watchdog Fines Facebook, Google Nearly $240M
Cookies on a website stores user information. However, France’s privacy regulator has slammed the tech giants, saying that user private information can be hijacked by hackers when they accept the cookies.
CNIL, in its statement, ordered Google and Facebook to fix the issue within three months or face daily fines of more than $100,000 from the restricted committee, the CNIL body that handles sanctions.
“The restricted committee considered that this process affects the freedom of consent: since, on the Internet, the user expects to be able to quickly consult a website, the fact that they cannot refuse the cookies as easily as they can accept them influences their choice in favor of consent,” the CNIL wrote.
That puts the two companies in violation of the French Data Protection Act. On Facebook, YouTube and Google sites, one click can enable cookies but it takes multiple clicks to refuse them all, the watchdog commission added.
“While cookies are largely a matter of privacy and convenience, criminals can hijack them to spy on users.”
Google in response to the European nation’s order, said that it was working to make changes in response to the CNIL commandment.
Facebook also noted that it was reviewing the fines demanded of them, by France’s CNIL.
WhatsApp Launches #YouSaid Education Campaign to Make People More Aware of False News in Nigeria
WhatsApp, has announced the launch of #YouSaid, a campaign to educate people on how to verify information they come across before passing it on, to help reduce the spread of false news in Nigeria.
The campaign offers tips for WhatsApp users to spot false news and take responsibility in minimizing its spread, by encouraging people to think carefully and check authoritative sources before deciding to share any information with their friends and family.
“At WhatsApp, all personal messages are protected with end-to-end encryption because the safety and security of our users and their messages is important to us. ” Akua Gyekye, WhatsApp Public Policy Lead said while commenting on the launch of the campaign. “While we remain committed to creating a safe space for our users to communicate privately, we encourage everyone to verify any information they receive and confirm whether it is true or false before sharing it with other people. Regardless of the person you received the information from, as soon as you share any information, it becomes something people think #YouSaid. Our hope is that this campaign will open up a conversation on the importance of verifying information and thinking carefully about what people read, trust and choose to share” Gyekye added.
Here are four easy ways to reduce the spread of false news on WhatsApp
- Understand what a ‘Forwarded’ message means: Any message that has the ‘forwarded’ label (an arrow or double arrow icon) did not start with the person who sent it to you. They will also have received it from someone else before passing it on to you. If you are not sure the information is true, do not forward it to someone else without verifying it.
A double arrow icon and “Forwarded many times” label will be displayed when a message has been forwarded more than five times since it was originally sent and will restrict sharing to just one chat at a time.
- Always fact check information with other sources: False news can go viral, and photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead you. If you’re unsure whether a message is true, check trusted news sites to see where the story came from. When a story is reported in multiple places and from trustworthy sources, it’s more likely to be true.
- Look out for messages that look different: If you receive messages that have such things like misspelled words, wrong dates, awkward layouts, unrelated pictures and web addresses (URLs), it’s a sign that the information could be false.
- Read the message objectively: Don’t let what you think you know get in the way of your judgment. Review the facts yourself before sharing information. Stories that seem hard to believe are often untrue.
Today, WhatsApp protects the personal communication of over two billion users all over the world, securing it with end-to-end encryption by default.
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