​Ghana Elections 2016: Social Media Monitoring for Peaceful ElectionsProject Set to be Rolled Out

In bids to promote the peaceful conduct of Ghana’s 2016 general

elections, Penplusbytes under its African Elections Project (AEP) and

with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is rolling

out the “Ghana Elections 2016: Social Media Monitoring for Peaceful

Elections” Project.
The project aims at deploying cutting edge ICT enabled tools as early

warning systems to track potential elections irregularities on social

media. Running from 1st June 2016 to 30th November 2016, its main

objectives include advocating for issue-based elections through

political campaign fact-checking, as well as promoting peaceful,

transparent and credible elections in Ghana through election related

social media trend monitoring and information sharing.
Penplusbytes through this project will, in partnership with the

Georgia Institute of Technology, establish a Social Media Tracking

Center (SMTC) that will employ Aggie; a social media monitoring

software to detect election irregularities, logistics problems, fraud,

and potential violence reported on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,

Ushahidi, SMS and Google+.
Part of the project’s activities would also be the sharing of incident

reports in real-time with the Electoral Commission, National Elections

Security Task Force (NESTF), Ghana Police, other Elections Management

bodies and key stakeholders for immediate action.
This year, Ghana’s democratic credentials will be put to test as the

nation braces up for what is widely predicted to be the most keenly

contested elections in history. With this expectation comes a

heightened sense of caution against acts and practices that have the

potential to plunge the country into chaos before, during and after

the general elections. There has therefore come a need for civil

society and all key stakeholders to channel efforts into ensuring

Ghana emerges from the elections unscathed and remains a beacon of

democracy in the region.
Penplusbytes under the AEP first successfully implemented the Social

Media Monitoring Project in 2012 to provide 24-hour social media

coverage during the elections using social media monitors,

supervisors, verifiers, and analysts.
Outlining the ideals of the project, Jerry Sam, Director of Programmes

at Penplusbytes, said “Having successfully deployed this project in

2012, we believe Social Media has become a significant part of the

Ghanaian communication culture with immense influence and impact,

reason for which mounting virtual surveillance has become as equally

important as physical ones.
From the Arab spring to the next terrorism recruit, the conversation

is now happening online hence our commitment to establishing this

system to track and address in quick time, red flags, flash points and

other indicators that may threaten the smooth conduct of the 2016

elections.” He told the media in his own words.
Source: Kofi Adzivor/The New Independent

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