A story by renowned business journalist Georgie Ndirangu on how Kenyan hackers are using technology to fight fake news marked his debut on BBC World on Thursday.
In the story, Ndirangu, formerly of CNBC Africa, narrates how the hackers are using hackathons to combat purveyors of fake news.
According to Mercy Orangi, the Developer Relations Manager at Andela Kenya, a hackathon is an event that brings together software developers, designers and domain experts to solve a certain problem.
In their case, they have assembled 50 hackers for the job that targets popular platforms such as Facebook and Whatsapp.
— Georgie Ndirangu (@georgiendirangu) November 16, 2018
Kenya witnessed an upsurge in dissemination of fake news ahead of last year’s general election.
Reports later indicated that UK firm Cambridge Analytica was actively involved in misinformation campaigns during Kenya’s elections on behalf of Jubilee Party.
It used the same tactics it deployed during the 2016 presidential elections in the US that saw Trump elected into office as well as a section of the Brexit campaign that resulted in Britain leaving the European Union, a process that is still ongoing.
The firm has since shut down in the wake of investigations in the US and UK.
— Larry Madowo (@LarryMadowo) November 16, 2018
The rapid spread of fake news show the country’s freedom of the internet ranking take a beating in 2018.
“In Kenya, which also moved from free to partly free, online manipulation and disinformation targeted voters during the August 2017 elections,” said Freedom House in its annual report.