Our client, an election management body, needed to quickly detect and address various threats to the integrity of an election, including online misinformation/disinformation, illegal campaign donations, and operational problems on election day.
KI Design was engaged to develop a customized data analytics system to help detect issues affecting the election. Our client wanted a commercially available, reliable, and adaptable social media and open-source data monitoring tool that incorporated real-time data from all major social media platforms and online open sources, including blogs, forums, domestic and international online news.
KI Design provided a customized version of our KI Data media monitoring service. KI Data enables users to search and monitor social and news media from multiple sources through a single interface. We integrated dozens of public and private data sources to help detect threats to the election:
- All relevant data from the open internet and publicly available social media, including political candidates’ and parties’ websites and social media accounts, as well as online news, blogs, and social media commentary;
- Campaign donation and political advertising data, including data provided by social media platforms in compliance with election finance laws;
- Federal and provincial corporate registrations and business information; and,
- Geographic data pertaining to electoral divisions, polling districts, polling stations, as well as postal data and weather data.
In addition to technical integration of data sources, we advised on communication with social media platforms regarding their obligations to provide data pertinent to compliance with election finance laws. We were able to obtain useful data from all major platforms targeted for the project.
We enabled unlimited access for election management staff to create and define queries based on the latest issues of interest. We delivered full data science services, including advanced query writing and analytics to zero in on relevant data. Our developers created specific dashboards and reports to track operational issues, public support concerns, electoral finance compliance, and media impact to meet our client’s needs.
With KI Data, our client was able to:
- Understand the electoral environment by monitoring specific hashtags, keywords, handles, and accounts;
- Detect, through timely and accurate notifications, potential incidents and trends, including geo-located incidents and trends, affecting the integrity, security, and administration of the election;
- Identify and prioritize elections-related integrity, security, and operational issues or incidents such as:
- Impersonation of the election management body;
- Threats that could affect citizens’ ability to register and vote;
- Threats that could negatively impact citizens’ confidence in the administration of the election;
- Operational issues that could impact the administration of the election.
- Geolocate where electors were facing issues at the polls (e.g., long line-ups, inclement weather, road closures, power outages) and understand where the trends originated, at an aggregate level;
- Monitor, in real time, the administration of the election;
- Monitor, in real time, key influencers to identify potential issues that could affect the election early on; and
- Report on various metrics quickly, accurately and in a structured and consistent manner.
By cross-referencing campaign finance records with corporate and candidate registries, we also enabled our client to detect illegal campaign donations. We were able to identify donations by political candidates and corporate directors, and ultimately provided actionable information on illegal donations.
We also added a triage and ticketing system to our platform that automatically flagged potential violations of election advertising rules, prioritized them based on selected criteria, and allowed election management staff to categorize issues and assign them to staff members for follow-up.
In addition to monitoring campaign finance and advertising, our system used advanced analytics and AI to isolate and identify sources of election disinformation and misinformation on the web and social media. We were able to identify examples of interference by international news outlets. Our client credited their customized KI Data election monitoring system with enabling them to get disinformation and misinformation removed from social media platforms and websites.