Facebook has offered Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) free use of its platform for voters’ education ahead of the 2019 general election.
This offer was extended to the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, during an official visit to the electoral body by a team from Facebook.
Facebook’s Public Policy Director for Africa, Mrs Ebele Okobi, said Nigerian users on the platform are already discussing political issues towards the 2019 election. Hence, the offer to use the website to engage millions of users in proper voters’ education.
“People care very deeply about how they are governed, about who governs them and other political issues,” she remarked.
“Knowing that people come to the platform to talk about what they care about, we have developed a politics and government program essentially to understand how our platform is being used not just during elections, but also to help governments engage with their citizens and also to see what the risks related to our platform in elections are and what opportunities and programs can be put in place to address the risks.”
Nigeria is the largest market for Facebook in Africa with over 16 million users visiting the platform on a monthly basis. South Africa has 12 million users and Kenya 4.5 million.
The INEC chairman thanked Facebook for this offer and for taking down parody accounts of the commission from its platform.
Also, Yakubu expressed satisfaction with the company’s moves to check the spread of hate speech and fake news.
Voters’ education is fundamental to the success of any electoral process across the world. As a result, the electoral body accepted the offer and hope to ensure people vote from the position of understanding during the 2019 general election.