Rise Networks, Nigeria’s leading data science and artificial intelligence-powered learning, research, and work Readiness Company with support from MacArthur Foundation has released Run-Am, a fake news verification mobile app that can be used to identify and verify the accuracy of news and information, people come across on their mobile devices.
The app which is built on machine learning and natural language processing algorithms can automatically detect and flag potentially fake or misleading news articles and it typically uses a variety of techniques to assess the credibility of news articles, such as checking the source of the information and images while analyzing the text for signs, patterns of bias or manipulation.
It is public knowledge that the spread of fake news and misinformation have been a major problem in Nigeria where low levels of media literacy and high levels of poverty make it easy for people to fall victim to false or misleading information.
Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Founder of Rise Networks, risenetworks.org, who created the project concept as a civic-tech product of the Company, believes that that advanced technologies such as Ai which the Run Am Artificial Mobile App is built on, have the disruptive innovation potential of transforming the information security and political landscapes of Africa.
“Fake news detection is a complex task and there is no single approach that can solve it. News Media Platforms may not always be 100% accurate so it is necessary to always cross-check information from multiple sources. It is also imperative that Nigeria and Africa, develop our home-grown authentic Philosophy, Ethics, Policy, Strategies, and accountability frameworks for Cognitive or Artificial Intelligence.
“The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a game changer for Nigeria if we get the requisite AI governance, capacities, and infrastructure right.
The series of programs designed by Rise Networks to upskill young people with STEM and in-demand tech knowledge and know-how for the future of work and the fourth industrial revolution demonstrate such positive applications and possibilities.
Fredrick Uwakwe, the Operations Lead at Rise Networks stated that Run-Am is a novel project within Africa’s Tech Ecosystem designed to be a valuable resource for users in Nigeria, enhancing their capabilities to detect inaccurate and unreliable information and resources on a variety of issues regarding elections in the world’s most populous black nation.
The Run-Am app has several key features that make it particularly distinct in today’s media space, where the line between fact and fiction is often blurred and there is a need for more critical thinking and fact-checking.
The News, News Source and Image Verification feature of the Run Am Mobile App represents a promising approach to addressing the problem of fake news and misinformation in Nigeria and other African countries and Run Am uses the Google Reverse Image Search API to help users determine the authenticity of images they come across especially on Social Media.
In the age of fake news and propaganda, it is crucial to be able to authenticate the veracity of media content before taking action on them or even broadcasting such wrong and misleading information.
Speaking at the Run-am Press Launch organized by Rise Networks in Abuja in partnership with CITAD, the Director of Publicity and Voter Education of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC], Mr. Victor Aluko thanked Rise Networks and proposed collaboration with them while informing the Public that the Electoral Umpire is already in talks with META on combatting Fake News.
The Run Am Mobile App also provides voter education resources based on the regulations provided by INEC.
This empowers users to make informed decisions and engage in meaningful political discourse, which can contribute to the development of a more accountable and transparent political system.
Experts such as Abdul-hakeem Ajijola, Chairman of the African Union Cyber-Security Expert Group and Chair of the Working Group on Cyber Incident Management and Critical Information Protection of #theGFCE at the Hague have opined that Nigerians can hold their heads high with pride and dignity with that the Country has developed an AI system that addresses our own misinformation and disinformation challenges which include the fostering & reinforcement of division often leading to societal rifts & possible physical violence, maligning and undermining of constituted authority – leading to the breakdown of law and order and the loss of trust by external parties.
Rise Networks says that it is already working on the 2.0 version of Run-Am which will focus on all elections in Nigeria from federal, state to local government, going forward and then scale to other countries within Africa in the near future.