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Group unveils mobile app to curb fake news

A Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Company, Rise Networks, has launched the “Run-Am” mobile app to verify fake news and combat the spread of misinformation during the electioneering period.

Founder, Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, said the platform, which can be accessed on Google Play Store, is a tool that will ensure efficiency and accountability of information during the 2023 elections and beyond.

According to her, the app has the news verification feature, image verification and voter-education features to check misinformation that may cause 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 due to fear, so this application helps you to find out the authentication of the information,” she said.

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 political parties and you will see a situation where the electoral process will be pulled in various directions, a lot of fake news, disinformation will arise 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,” Mr Aluko said.

Deputy Country Director, MacArthur Foundation Africa Office, Mr Dayo Olaide, said that democracy had continued to face challenges of global threats.

He noted that for sustenance of democracy, Nigerians must begin to pay more attention to electoral accountability.

We call out those who make inflammatory statements and spread fake news to desist from such act. As we launch the App today, we will need our citizens to go beyond exposing those misinformation and begin to demand that those who are driving this type of attack against our democracy are brought to book.” Mr Olaide stated.

The project had the support of the MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD).

Reporting by Tersoo Zamber; Editing by Julian Osamoto & Adeniyi Bakare