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African electoral authorities discuss social media regulation during elections

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is leading a conference on the issue in Cape Town.

The IEC and United Nations Development Programme is hosting a three-day conference on Safeguarding Electoral Integrity in the Digital Age - Strategies for Combating Digital Disinformation. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Electoral authorities from across Africa are putting their heads together to try and combat the harm that social media can cause elections.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is leading a conference on the issue in Cape Town.

Delegates are discussing how social media can impact electoral integrity.

Thirty-three electoral bodies, as well as international experts, are gathered at the Cape Town International Convention Centre for the three-day conference.

Kenyan writer and political analyst, Nanjala Nyabola, opened the conference with a talk on social media, its history and socio-political impact.

“We saw this explicitly during the elections in 2017 when analysis of hashtags and trends that were being talked about by influencers.”

The United Nations’ Andre-Michel Essoungou gave insight into current and future trends.

“Social media did not create fake news. There were people who were creating fake news long ago.”

Delegates have questioned if parameters were introduced to regulate social media, how would this be done.