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Keeping it real: IEC, partners launch site to curb elections disinformation

Real411.org is a digital anti-disinformation platform that will publish facts that the public can use to report dodgy data.

A screengrab from the Real411.org website.

JOHANNESBURG -The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it's taking proactive steps to curb disinformation intended to influence the outcome of the upcoming elections and will monitor breaches of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

Real411.org is a digital anti-disinformation platform that will publish facts that the public can use to report dodgy data.

The IEC has partnered with Media Monitoring Africa, Sanef and the Committee to Protect Journalists in the initiative.

Described as a noble but ambitious initiative, IEC and Media Monitoring Africa are on a mission to ensure the integrity of the upcoming poll.

“We hope this will combat the scourge of disinformation intended to unfairly influence the election,” IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said.

The platform will be a repository for correct information for the public to fact check but those who breach the code of conduct will be investigated.

Mamabolo explained: “The second part of this project is to provide an online platform which will allow members of the public, members of the media, political parties, candidates and other interest groups to quickly and easily report to the IEC potential disinformation which may be in breach of the Electoral Code of Conduct.”

The IEC admits that with limited resources, the initiative's reach may still be surpassed by platforms like Facebook and Twitter with millions of users.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)