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Why Facebook Flagged Uhuru’s Congratulatory Message To Museveni as False Information

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Facebook Museveni

Over the weekend, a lot was happening. This includes the release of the Ugandan Election results terming Hon Museveni as the president-elect. In common ‘presidential courtesy’, our very own head of state, President Uhuru Kenyatta took to Facebook to congratulate Hon Museveni. However, in a turn of events, Facebook flagged the post as False information.

So we asked ourselves why this was. I mean, the information was not false seeing as, according to official sources,  Museveni had won the election. However, on digging slightly deeper, we have realized the flagging was an error on Facebook’s part.

Facebook Flag Uhuru’s Congratulatory Message To Museveni

Simply put, Facebook flagged the post as false information. Unfortunately, they did not flag the post for the message but for the image. The photo had initially been fact-checked by PesaCheck hence the alert from Facebook.

“The error appears to have originated from the automation system, which looks for similar content that has been fact-checked. In this case, both posts shared the same photo of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. When State House used the same image, the Facebook automation system immediately marked it as false. Within 15 minutes of the post being made, we corrected to indicate that the photo wasn’t false.” ~ PesaCheck

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Facebook Museveni

 

Following a year with previous false COVID-19 information and questionable Trump posts, social media platforms are making strides to fight the spread of wrong info. Thus we see Facebook, Instagram and Twitter working with fact-checkers nowadays to highlight and alert us towards posts with ‘False Information’.

However, this is a rather peculiar case. Does it mean that every picture that has been termed false is no longer viable? That’s up to the guys at Facebook to look into but for you, just be careful with whatever you post. PesaCheck notes that they are currently working with Facebook to curb this.

“We’re working with Facebook to try and prevent such errors from happening in future.”

It might be a small issue to you but as you can see it affects anyone and everyone. The State House Page had to take down both posts n Facebook and Twitter and it’s never easy to recover from that.

Update: Facebook reached out to us in regards to the situation and this is their official statement

“We are aware that our automated systems incorrectly labelled a post from State House Kenya as false. The post was a congratulatory message on H.E. President Yoweri Museveni re-election, that featured a picture of the president that had appeared in a previous fact-checked article that was flagged as false in December 2019. The issue has been resolved, with the matching error fixed, we are in communication with the State House Kenya.” Facebook Spokesperson.

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