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iHub Research By Angela Okune / April 5, 2013

Developing a Framework for Validating Crowdsourced Data


Blog post by: Nanjira Sambuli

Is crowdsourced information (that is, information collected from citizens through online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging) more representative of on-the-ground reality than traditional media reporting like television, radio and newspapers? If so, can crowdsourced information be organized and used to find and capture news as generated? How can such information be confirmed to match events reported to have happened in a particular location?

These are some of the guiding questions to a ground-breaking research project we are conducting, using the recently concluded Kenyan General Elections as a case study. The study, funded by the International Development Research Centre, runs to July 2013.

Political events in Kenya have been noted to spark many online conversations, especially with the continued uptake of social media. Opinions, facts, rumors, and events have been shared and reported online with increased frequency. We have been tracking such social media activity, with a particular focus on Twitter (due to ease of analysis), and assessing what information has been generated in the build up to, during, and after the March 4th voting process. With approximately 2.1 million tweets aggregated thus far, suffice to say there’s a wealth of data/information to be explored!

Some of the things we are exploring using this dataset includes:

  • whether there are events that were first reported on social media by ‘ordinary users’ before being reported on traditional media, or before being shared by news outlets’ official social media channels;

  • how many unique reports were generated per event, how such reports might be confirmed to be true/false (whether accompanied by photo or video evidence);

  • how many reports were generated online from different parts of the country (is social media activity limited to major towns and cities?);

  • is possible to create an automated way of verifying information shared on social media.

Stay posted for more information on our findings and upcoming activities soon!

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Author : Angela Okune

Angela is Research Lead at iHub. She is keen on growing knowledge on the uptake and utility of ICTs in East Africa. She is also co-lead of Waza Experience, an iHub community initiative aimed at prompting under-privileged children to explore innovation and entrepreneurship concepts grounded in real-world experience.

  • Making ICTs work for social justice and development | The Elephant at 13:56:35PM Saturday, April 27, 2013

    [...] and more readily available than traditional media sources, verification and validation is key. IHub is developing a validation framework, to be launched [...]

  • Desiree at 13:21:21PM Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Many thanks


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