Advisory Committee of Political Parties – Meeting Summary – June 13 and 14, 2019
6. Approach to Social Media Monitoring and Response Coordination
Presenter: Melanie Wise (Assistant Director, Media Relations & Issues Management)
Ms. Wise updated ACPP representatives on how EC will monitor and analyze social media to detect information and incidents that could interfere with Canadians’ ability to vote in the 43rd general election.
In terms of dedicated teams, Ms. Wise explained the division of labour between the Public Affairs team that manages EC’s corporate social media channels, posting messages and responding to questions; and the Electoral Integrity Office team that monitors the social media landscape for information and incidents not directed at EC’s accounts. These two teams will be co located and will be cross-trained to leverage our resources efficiently and facilitate information-sharing.
Ms. Wise explained that EC will monitor print, online and broadcast media in English and French, as well as 20 other non-official languages. For social media, EC’s social media monitoring tool scans 40+ languages and the monitoring staff is fluent in 12 languages.
Ms. Wise stated that while EC will not monitor topics related to political issues, candidates or party platforms, they will monitor social media and the Web for three types of information:
- Inaccurate information about the electoral process: where, when and ways to register and vote, voter ID requirements, etc.
- Indicators of incidents that could affect our election delivery: extreme weather, road closures, fires, etc.
- Websites or accounts impersonating EC.
Regarding social media analysis, EC will validate the authenticity of digital information, triangulate findings with information from other sources, and measure reach and estimate potential impact on the electoral process. Ms. Wise explained how responses to social media issues will be timely, proportional with the estimated scope and impact, aligned with EC’s electoral integrity program and coordinated with external actors, as required.
The session concluded with questions from committee members, through which parties sought to better understand EC’s role and approach to addressing complaints and misinformation on its social media channels. EC reiterated its role within the context of other stakeholders within the Government of Canada.