IEC hopes to prevent social media’s influence on elections

Independent Electoral Commission marshalls set up voting station on the eve of the country's general elections on June 2, 2017 in Maseru, Lesotho. Lesotho will hold elections on June 3, the landlocked kingdom's second snap poll in three years as political instability deepens. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

The IEC raises its concern as it prepares for the upcoming local government elections in 2021.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is looking to reduce the potential influence that social media can have on the elections in the country.

The IEC raises its concern as it prepares for the upcoming local government elections in 2021.

The commission is weighing possible ways to strengthen its processes as well as to find ways to deal with new technologies including the benefits and threats.

The IEC partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to host a three-day conference in Cape Town to discuss the positives and negatives of social media’s influence on elections.

The commission’s deputy chief electoral officer Masego Sheburi told Power 89.7 on Tuesday morning that the conference brings together experts in election management.

“We are hosting a conference with 34 election management bodies from across the continent.

“We are looking pertinently at two sectors: what it is that we can do as election management bodies to harness the possibility and potential that social media presents to disseminate information accurately, speedily to various demographics,” said Sheburi.

He further said that it was important to note that social media had the potential danger of spreading propaganda and fake news, which could compromise the integrity of elections.

“For example, impacting the voter in such a way that they cast an uninformed choice. Linked to that is also deep data analytics to sway voter choice,” he concluded.

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