Rogerwilco Creates Accurate Content on Africa Check’s Election Information Hub

Fri, 21/06/2024 - 14:41

To ensure that accurate information reaches South African voters before the general election, Africa Check has added an Election Information Hub to its website, featuring fact-check reports, analyses, factsheets and AI-generated videos produced by multi-award-winning digital marketing agency Rogerwilco.

Noko Makgato, Africa Check Executive Director says, “One of the key mediums we’re using is video because it appeals to so many people, especially South Africa's young voters. In the video series, Zanele, our AI host, debunks some of the parties’ more spurious claims while validating those that are correct, enabling Africa Check to provide reliable, nonpartisan information on key campaign issues proactively. We’re also working with social media platforms to highlight fact checks, using tools like Meta’s third-party fact-checking program.”

The Election Information Hub focuses on claims made by the three major political parties; ANC, DA and EFF). It also features a report examining the election promises made by the ANC in  2019  and details the commitments that have not been met.         

Because voters can’t easily find this information, Africa Check does it for them. They examine important public statements and then check them against the best available evidence and publish their findings to guide public debate with facts.         

There is a difference between misinformation, which is shared unintentionally, and disinformation, which is false information spread with the intent to mislead. The latter is particularly problematic during an election.

“When we conceptualised the campaign”, says Wilton Ackeer, Rogerwilco Creative Director, “we wanted to bring in an artificial intelligence component because the abuse of AI - and technology in general - has given rise to so much misinformation in election campaigns globally. Our intent was to demonstrate that, when used effectively and with purpose, artificial intelligence can be an asset in sorting fact from fiction.”

As a digital agency, Rogerwilco’s role is to help clients stay relevant in the digital age. According to Ackeer, “Innovation is essential to get attention in a crowded media landscape. Helping clients do clever things like this enables them to meet consumers where they are and when needed. Capturing the zeitgeist is the particular skill of digital agencies, and this is increasingly the sort of service clients need.”

This year has seen the highest number of youth registering to vote: 48% of people aged 20 to 29, up from 30% in 2019. This age group gravitates towards short-form social media content like TikTok – nearly 40% of TikTok users are aged 18 to 24. The problem is that false information thrives on TikTok due to a lack of fact-checking.

In 2022 this was proven by NewsGuard, a journalism and technology tool that tracks online information. According to their report published on CNN’s website, TikTok ‘repeatedly delivered videos containing false claims in the first 20 results, often within the first five.’

In South Africa, more than 70% of the population is estimated to receive their news online and through social media such as TikTok and Reels.

In an age of disinformation, the Election Information Hub is a comprehensive resource. It invites involvement from the public, giving them a place to submit claims that need to be checked. It also provides guides that equip the public with the skills needed to navigate the digital age, such as how to tell if a news article is reliable and how to fight fake news and misinformation sent via WhatsApp.

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