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
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