For the equivalent of 10c per eligible South African voter we can protect the integrity of our upcoming national elections.
The adoption of social media as a global communications platform has created the perfect environment for message manipulation and manufactured consent.
Fake news, misinformation, and incendiary rhetoric have been used to divide people, around the world, for all of human history. However, large scale interference and social manipulation has never been this easy, cheap, or lucrative.
Innumerable "consulting" companies and similarly nefarious stakeholders are exploiting the gap between general-public's understanding of recent technological advances, and the actual capabilities of these technologies.
MIT found that "Online manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 18 countries" - in 2017 alone.
Closer to home, the ANC presidential election at Nasrec (Dec'17) is just one small-scale example - with over 140 bots networked and mobilised in support of one particular candidate.
We are deeply concerned at how social media will be used in the election later this year. The stakes are incredibly high, and it will likely be the most highly contested elections - ever - in South Africa.
We urgently need YOUR help to keep this project funded!
The methodology we have developed uses advanced social media based analytics, tried and tested dialogue mechanisms, content creation, and machine learning to help us identify and respond to organised interference, false divisive rhetoric and hate speech, on social media.
This collaborative project, backed by the IEC, consists of two parallel programmes:
To find out more about the group of civil society organisations collaborating on this projects, or about how you can get involved, contact us on [email protected] or visit the election integrity webpage.