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Why Uhuru’s Facebook congratulatory message to Museveni was flagged

By Hilary Kimuyu January 21st, 2021 2 min read

Facebook on Thursday said that it was in talks with State House over a flagged post by President Uhuru Kenyatta whose content the social media platform incorrectly termed as ”false information”.

Facebook spokesperson said that their automated system had incorrectly labelled the message as false because of a picture of the president that had appeared in a previously fact-checked article that was flagged as false in December 2019.

“We are aware that our automated systems incorrectly labelled a post from State House Kenya as false. The post was a congratulatory message to H.E. President Yoweri Museveni on his re-election, that featured a picture of the President that had appeared in a previously 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 State House Kenya,” Facebook spokesperson said.

The said post by President Kenyatta contained a congratulatory message to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who on Saturday won the country’s General Election.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has termed President Yoweri Museveni’s re-election a testimony of the confidence the people of Uganda have in his leadership,” read the tweet by State House.

President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, was declared the winner of Uganda’s presidential elections held on January 14.

False information

Facebook flagged the message by State House, terming it “false information”, prompting State House to pull down the post.

While flagging the post, Facebook claimed that the message had been checked and found to be fake.

“The same information was checked in another post by independent fact-checkers and found to be false,” it said.

The message, however, was not flagged on Twitter.

According to Facebook’s regulations, deleting a post containing ‘‘false information” does not affect the outcome.

In 2016, Facebook announced a new measure to flag potentially misleading stories.

Facebook partnered with a range of organisations to clarify highly shared, questionable reports, and has since continued to refine its systems as part of its broader effort to stem the flow of damaging reports before they gain full traction.