A week out from Kenya’s highly-anticipated August 8 election, increasingly fake news reports are circulating on social media platforms in the country. Slickly-produced news bulletins that at first glance appear to be from major international broadcasters including CNN and the BBC have surfaced in recent days. One bogus report cuts from a legitimate CNN Philippines broadcast to a fake voiceover segment which falsely implies that one candidate is leading over the other in a recent poll.
Polling numbers have the two leading candidates — incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and long-time rival and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga — in a much tighter race, with neither garnering enough support for an outright victory.
To unequivocally win the election, a candidate has to receive 50% of the votes plus one as well as at least 25% of the votes in half of Kenya’s 47 counties. If no winner is declared, the election will go into a run-off, for the first time in Kenya’s history.
Fake news came to the fore during the 2016 US election and the Brexit referendum in the UK earlier that year. Now social platforms like Facebook are working to combat the growing problem.