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Social Media Tracking Centre for Ghana Elections 2016

Social Media Tracking Centre for Ghana Elections 2016 Ready to Commence
Operations

Although there is a lot of activity when it comes to monitoring mainstream
media, there is currently only an inefficient manual tracking of trends in
social media here in Ghana.

Social media provides the insight and up to the minute information that
will be imperative in ensuring a peaceful Ghana Elections 2016. It is
because of this gap in efficient data monitoring that Penplusbytes’
Flagship “Social Media Tracking Centre” (SMTC) is set to roll out ahead of
the December 7polls.

The SMTC is a system to monitor and respond in real-time to reports
emanating from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. The
technology at the middle of  SMTC is the Aggie social media tracking
software, developed at Georgia Tech. Aggie is able to present trends
grouped around voting logistics, violence, political parties, etc.
Penplusbytes will pass the information on to the National Elections
Security Taskforce. Through rapid citizen feedback, gathered through
social media, problems that may trigger security incidents will be quickly
resolved, contributing to a peaceful election.

The centre is to be manned by a core team of tech savvies made up of
students from tertiary institutions like the Meltwater Entrepreneurial
School of Technology and the University of Ghana, Legon as well as staff
of Penplusbytes. The team will be monitoring social media for 72 hours
non-stop on a rotational basis from 6th to the 8th of December, 2016 which
is before, during and after the elections.

Key words that have been categocategorisedtrends and incidents will be
tracked in real time on social media platforms and staff will verify
these, before producing rapid electoral incident reports to share with
diverse electoral stakeholders. Penplusbytes will share its real-time
incident reports with the Electoral Commission, National Elections
Security Task Force (NESTF), and other election stakeholders for prompt
action. A new addition to the software tracking platforms is the SMS short
code. All these will be done with embedded representatives in the
electoral management and observer control centers.

With funding from the Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie and the National
Endowment for Democracy, this project seeks to promote peaceful,
transparent and credible elections in Ghana and support effective and
efficient information and knowledge exchange through a strategic and
structural engagement of citizens and the electoral management bodies
(Electoral Commission and National Elections Security Task Force - NESTF).

According to the executive director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II,
“Technology is playing a key role in Ghana’s socio-economic development
and its application in the governance sector is no exception. This centre
and its activities during the elections is clearly in line with our vision
of being the leading institution for promoting good governance using
technology.”

During the 2012 Ghana elections, new digital technologies were applied by
all stakeholders in the elections continuum from the electoral management
body, political parties, electoral observers, down to the individual
voters.

Given this context, there is no doubt that ICTs is going to be a key
factor in the elections and this project will seek to enhance and
contribute to the democratic momentum that has already been built over the
years.

Source: GINKS / Myjoyonline