Facebook has started rolling out a new feature that protects journalists in some African countries.
Some of the countries are Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
Journalists on Facebook can now voluntarily register with Facebook to receive safety and security features.
This is to protect their accounts from online attacks.
Facebook will also be offering registered journalists to link their security protection to their Instagram accounts.
They will also be granted the ability to apply for Facebook’s blue badge.
Also, registered journalists can access sites like CrowdTangle search.
This will enable them to search for topics and events discussed on Social media sites like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and Instagram.
“Journalists serve an essential role by keeping us informed and connected with the communities we care about.
“In the course of doing their jobs, members of the press can face threats both in the physical world and online,” Facebook said.
It explained further that journalists are at risk of privacy and security threat due to their occupation.
They are at risk of being hacked or doxxed, and personal information like their phone numbers or house addresses can be leaked out online.
Hence, the new feature provides better account protection and ensures the safety of the journalist.
In 2018, UNESCO researched online violence against women journalists.
From its research, Facebook was rated first amongst the top five social platforms used by the women participants as unsafe.
Facebook support news and media outlet
Over the years, Facebook has been criticised for spreading false information.
There has also been a decline in advertising revenue of newsrooms.
It also added that it would be partnering with news organisations, academics and industry groups to identify other means of supporting registered journalists.
Facebook said that journalist registration is the beginning of bettering identity and supporting journalists on its platform.
To register as a journalist, the person needs to be identified with a news organisation.
And the news outlet must be registered as a news page on Facebook.
The journalist can submit about five articles with their names as an author or contributor; submit a link to their biography on a staff directory page, or provide their professional email.
Facebook added that it would roll out the new protection feature to other countries that aren’t in Africa.
Such countries are the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, and many other countries.
Facebook also added that while it starts with account protection, that in the future, a registered journalist can enjoy additional new benefits.
“While we’re starting with account protections, in the future registered journalists may also be eligible for other news-specific benefits, tools, and features”
Although Facebook recently launched its ‘Facebook News’ in some countries.
The purpose of the launch was to build a relationship between the media and the tech industry