Aggie is a real-time, user-generated content aggregation and analysis platform premised on the core principles of:
Technological neutrality: Support content from popular social media platforms along with media originating from purpose-built systems (namely those specific to election monitoring, crises, or conflict response).
Computer enabled expert analysis: Automated computer analysis augments and enhances expert human real-time reasoning and decision making.
Real-time response: Moving from online report aggregation to analysis, escalation and response within one hour.
Big data: Supporting up to 1,000 incoming reports per second.
Open source principles: Aggie is fully open source and welcomes contributions.
Architecturally, Aggie has two modules; the backend server that crawls the internet to aggregate user generated content, and a front end client API that runs on a browser.
SOCIAL MEDIA TRACKING CENTRE (SMTC)
The SMTC is a system to monitor and respond in real-time to reports emanating from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. The technology at the middle of an SMTC is the Aggie social media tracking software, developed at Georgia Tech and the United Nations University Computing and Society. Aggie is able to present trends grouped around voting logistics, violence, political parties, etc. Penplusbytes will pass the information on to the National Elections Security Taskforce. Through rapid citizen feedback, gathered through social media, problems that may trigger security incidents will be quickly resolved, contributing to a peaceful election.
The centre is to be manned by a core team of tech savvies made up of students from tertiary institutions like the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and the University of Ghana, Legon as well as staff of Penplusbytes. The team will be monitoring social media for 72 hours non-stop on a rotational basis from 6th to the 8th of December, 2016 which is before, during and after the elections.
Key words that have been categorized into trends and incidents will be tracked in real time on social media platforms and staff will verify these, before producing rapid electoral incident reports to share with diverse electoral stakeholders. Penplusbytes will share its real-time incident reports with the Electoral Commission, National Elections Security Task Force (NESTF), and other election stakeholders for prompt action. A new addition to the software tracking platforms is the SMS short code. All these will be done with embedded representatives in the electoral management and observer control centers.
With funding from the Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie and the National Endowment for Democracy, this project seeks to promote peaceful, transparent and credible elections in Ghana and support effective and efficient information and knowledge exchange through a strategic and structural engagement of citizens and the electoral management bodies (Electoral Commission and National Elections Security Task Force – NESTF).