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Africa Sorts COVID-19 Myths from Facts Using Tech

Governments across Africa are teaming up with technology giants including Facebook and WhatsApp to fight misinformation about coronavirus on social media platforms that could propel the pandemic on a continent with shaky healthcare systems. South Africa, which has more infections than any other African country, with more than 1,400 confirmed cases, has launched an information service about the coronavirus on WhatsApp. In Nigeria, health officials are partnering with the messaging service owned by Facebook to send push notifications to users with advice on symptoms and how to avoid infection. Facebook, along with social media competitors including Twitter and YouTube, has barred users from posting harmful information about COVID-19 on its platforms. The company is working with third-party fact-checkers in 15 sub-Saharan African countries to identify and remove such posts from Facebook, said its regional spokeswoman, Kezia Anim-Addo. WhatsApp is piloting a similar effort in Nigeria, among other countries.