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Public warned to watch information shared on Social Media

A Non-Governmental Organization has cautioned the public against spreading unverified information obtained from social media platforms.

An Investigative manager at Code for Africa organization Allan Cheboi highlighted the importance of knowing the content the public consumes more especially as Kenya approaches the general election.

Speaking in an exclusive interview on Spice Radio on Tuesday, Cheboi explained that Code for Africa as a civic type of organization, has a role of checking on information that is being exposed to the public, especially on social media.

“We are keen on suspicious information which may be misleading to the public as of late, we have witnessed poll-based amplification. This majorly happens when information regarding particular political affiliations spreads and contains a form of threat to the public,” Cheboi said.

The organization investigates and hands over social media accounts that propagate fake news and spread malicious information to investigative authorities in Kenya for arrest since they have no arresting mandate.

The organization, Cheboi stated, has a team of investigators in its laboratory on alert to check the trends in social media. The team is also keen to identify propaganda information with their sources.

Political influencers targeting social media, especially on tik tok where most youths are glued on, take advantage to spread hate speech and false information. Facebook and Twitter platforms have reduced such cases as they check and verify all the content posted on the site.

The organization receives funding from the United Nation Peace and Development and the United Nations Office of Human Rights and closely works with National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

He noted that a Social Network Analysis Report states that as early as 2020, people had been paid to amplify and spread political information, be it factual or fake.

Cheboi stated also that some of the terms mentioned by politicians and influencers not only shaped the opinion of the voters but also led to incitement among people of divergent ideas in the public arena.

“There is a lot of training going on to ensure the public verifies their information before spreading it. Changes have been witnessed in towns like Kisumu, Nairobi and Mombasa as opposed to remote places where they do not sieve the information they receive. We therefore appeal to the public not to forward unverified information, which may trigger emotions and opinions of others,” Cheboi concluded.


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