Pensplusbytes rolls out “All Media Tracking Centre (AMTC)”
Accra, Dec 05, GNA-Penplusbytes in collaboration with the Ghana Society for Disabilities Organisations has rolled out the “All Media Tracking Centre (AMTC)” system to help monitor the 2020 general elections.
The AMTC, which is an advanced version of the Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC), as an early warning system, deployed by Penplusbytes during the 2016 elections, to monitor and respond in real-time, reports emanating from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc as well as SMS, WhatsApp and traditional news outlets.
The technology at the middle of an AMTC is the Tipahya (I am Part) software developed by Penplusbytes. Tipahya is able to present trends grouped around voting logistics, violence, political parties, etc. The AMTC team is able to identify what is trending and can quickly detect possible election irregularities or instances of violence that warrant further attention; these reports will then be categorized as incidents.
Incidents of election irregularities, voting fraud, violence, etc. will be communicated to the National Security Task Force, Electoral Commission, elections observers among others. For example, where issues emerged (e.g. a lack of materials at a particular polling station, leading to long queues).
Penplusbytes will pass the information on to the EC for action. Through rapid citizen feedback, gathered through social media, problems that may trigger security incidents will be quickly resolved, contributing to a peaceful election.
In running the AMTC, we usually deploy 40 volunteers (this has been scaled down significantly this year due to insufficient funds) some of whom will be software developers with an appreciative understanding of technology to ensure the smooth running of the Center. The volunteers work in 12-hour shifts during the day of the elections comprising an 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM day shift, and an 8:00 PM – 8:00 AM night shift. They will work in four different teams: social media monitors, supervisors, verifiers and analysts. This cycle will be repeated till the final results are announced and also if there is a re-run of the elections.
The concept of deploying social media tracking centre is not new to us, during 2012 & 2016 Ghana’s elections, Penplusbytes deployed same initiative, which made the most concrete impact in Ghana experiencing a peaceful election as well as making an impact on the intended beneficiaries, thus the public at large. (DFID’s Empowerment and Accountability Programming in Ghana and Malawi report 2013 by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI).
The real-time data capturing ability of the centre will allow for up-to-the-moment reports to be distributed to relevant stakeholders including – the National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF), Ghana Police, The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Electoral Commission, the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) elections situation centre, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), and the National Peace Council – of incidents taking place in different areas around the country at any one time.
Through rapid citizen feedback, gathered through social media, problems that may trigger security incidents will be quickly resolved and this will offer a genuine opportunity to make a real impact in reducing violence during the Ghana Election 2020. The technology will also store data for an in-depth post-election analysis of the various media platforms.