In recent years, election management bodies have struggled to combat misinformation and disinformation propagated online, including false information about voter registration and polling stations intended to suppress voter turnout. They have also faced the challenge of detecting illegal political campaign donations, such as corporate donations made in the names of executives and their family members. This all happens due to the absence of an election monitoring system.
Our client sought a commercially available, reliable, and adaptable social media and open-source data monitoring tool that incorporated real-time data from all major social media platforms and online open sources (including blogs, forums, domestic and international online news) for numerous concurrent users. The tool needed to be able to increase the number of users on an ad-hoc basis, if and when required.
KI Design was engaged to provide two services:
- Social and media analytics
- Political financing analytics
KI Design provided our client with:
- A customized version of the KI Data tool that can search and monitor social and news media from a single console. The tool provided users with unlimited access to create and define queries.
- Data Science services: Full service query writing and analytics, in addition to data provisioning.
- Custom report building services: KI Design created specific dashboards and reports to track operational issues, public support concerns, compliance, and media impact to meet our client’s needs.
KI Design enabled our client to monitor the electoral environment by tracking specific hashtags, keywords, handles, and accounts. By analyzing data from multiple open sources, from social media to weather data, we identified and prioritized issues that could affect the integrity, security, and operations of elections; for example, fraudulent social media accounts impersonating electoral bodies, traffic accidents and weather events that could prevent voters from getting to the polls, and complaints about long lines at polling stations.
For the political financing project, we integrated numerous public and private data sources, including political party lists and corporate registration data, and developed queries based on illegal political donation scenarios. Using the results of our analysis, our client was able to identify illegal donations from corporate donors to political parties.
Social media monitoring improved our client’s awareness of the electoral environment and helped them respond to events such as weather, power outages, and road closures. Our solution also gathered real-time feedback from voters, which helped election management bodies to resolve issues, such as lineups at the polls and web application difficulties, more efficiently. This feedback on voters’ experiences informed longer-term communication and outreach plans.
Using KI Data, social media accounts impersonating electoral bodies were identified, as well as social media accounts disseminating false information that could have prevented people from voting. Our client was able to have fraudulent accounts taken down, and continues to work with social media platforms to provide information required to remove additional accounts.