Facebook Pulls Down Harmful Kenya Content Ahead of August Polls

In Summary
  • The general elections  are  to be held next month on the 9th of August.
Image: Getty Images

As Kenya gears up for a general election on 9th August, technology giant Meta has taken down thousands of posts targeting Kenyan users on its social media platform Facebook for violating its policies.

Four years ago, bosses at the now-defunct British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica were apparently caught on camera boasting of the control they had exerted in Kenya's disputed 2017 presidential poll, and their company was accused of mining Kenyans' personal data on Facebook to help President Uhuru Kenyatta win.

Facebook now says in a new report that it has pulled down more 37,000 posts for promoting hate speech and 42,000 for violating its violence and incitement policies, in the six months leading up to 30 April.

The firm also says it has rejected 36,000 political adverts for not complying with its transparency rules.

Facebook says it has partnered with independent fact-checkers in Kenya to debunk misinformation ahead of the August polls.

Its director of public policy for East and Horn of Africa, Mercy Ndegwa, says they have enhanced controls on their platforms that will make it easy to identify and remove content that could lead to election-related violence.

There are some signs that the ethnicised political discourse and its underlying drivers are changing. As in so many countries around the world, this has been driven in part by the experience of COVID19 and the restrictions on people’s lives that have come with the pandemic, which have exacerbated and highlighted inequalities among Kenya’s citizens.

The general elections  to be held next month will see voters elect the President, members of the National Assembly and Senate, county governors and members of the 47 county assemblies.