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Facebook admits to incorrectly labeling #EndSARS content as misinformation

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Protestors demonstrate on the streets of Lagos on Tuesday.
Protestors demonstrate on the streets of Lagos on Tuesday.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
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Facebook has apologised for incorrectly labelling Instagram content supporting #EndSARS as false information.

The social network admitted to Euronews that posts expressing solidarity with protestors in Nigeria had been labelled as misleading in error.

Facebook said they have the mistake and stated that they had let down "their online community in such a time of need".

The apology came after backlash from social media users on Instagram when they noticed that a warning screen had been added to images using the solidarity hashtag #EndSARS.

The false information warning over the image also directed users to an article about a separate misinformation claim.

"The amount of 'false information' on Instagram, and they block this?" Ashley Banjo, a TV Presenter in the UK said in his Instagram story in response to his post being censored.

Facebook third-party fact-checkers identify false information as altered content or content with missing context on Instagram.

In addition to the label warning, content flagged in this way is hidden from the 'Explore' options on the app, and are less visible on Instagram feeds.

“We are aware that Facebook's automated systems were incorrectly flagging content in support of #EndSARS, and for this we are deeply sorry," a Facebook company spokesperson told Euronews.

"This issue has since been resolved, and we apologise for letting down our community in such a time of need.”

Facebook did not respond to Euronews' question regarding how many posts had been incorrectly labeled.

Demonstrations and unrest in Nigeria began earlier this month, as citizens protested against the police unit known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The force has been accused of police brutality and targeting young Nigerians.

Amnesty International say they have received "credible evidence" that peaceful protestors were shot at, and it is estimated that at least 12 people have died.

The NGO also stated they have testament of at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020.

The hashtag #EndSARS has been trending across the globe over the past few weeks with mounting international support for the demonstrators.

Click on the player above to watch Seana Davis' report in The Cube.