Kenya votes today: Social Media to Serve As a Watchdog

Kenya Elections
Kenya Elections

Kenya’s general elections is today and everyone, including the major social media platforms are set to ensure a smooth transition.

As Kenyans go to the polls to choose President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor, social media platforms are also ensuring that everyone can keep up with the right information.

Disinformation spreads fast during election season, but major social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and now Twitter have said will not have it.

Facebook’s was the first to rollout a strategy for the general elections, followed by TikTok and not Twitter has also rolled out plan to stop the spread of electoral disinformation.

Like Facebook, Twitter is partnering with African fact-checkers to help stop the spread of disinformation. In fact, Twitter has partnered with Africa Check, the continent’s first independent fact-checking organisation, to ensure Kenyans have access to the right facts.

Twitter has also created a custom emoji for the elections. If you use #KenyaDecides, #KenyaDecides2022, #electionske or #electionske2022, a ballot box wrapped in the Kenyan flag pops up. With this, Kenyans can quickly search for news about the elections.

Similar to what it did during the pandemic, Twitter has also created election prompts that will direct users to Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC’s) website when they search for certain keywords.

It will also label any false tweets, and continue its policy of banning political ads.

Twitter says its custom emoji will also help “spread credible information”, but there are concerns that users, particularly marketers and business owners are likely to misuse the hashtags if they think it will sell their wares.

What will matter, over the next few days, is how quickly Twitter is able to take down the droves of identifiable false news that spreads quickly on its platform.

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