Julius Malema is the most searched for political candidate in South Africa, but the most searched for party is the ANC. This is according to the last seven days of Google Trends, which tracks what South Africans are searching for.
At a media breakfast in Bryanston on Thursday morning, Google showcased its range of online tools to help journalists and newsrooms cover the 2019 national elections more accurately and with more insight. Partnering with Africa Check, the South African National Editors Forum and Media Monitoring Africa, the search engine behemoth hopes to provide information to newsrooms, the candidates and the electorate in an effort to support the “democratic process”.Mich Atagana, Google SA’s communications head, said that the data “showcases what people are thinking about and searching for.
It also gives you an opportunity to take conversation and turn it into factual friendly information that will help people understand what they need to do.” Another area that Atagana highlighted that could provide journalists and stakeholders with a sense of what information people want is the most searched-for questions list. Over the past week the most searched-for election question was “when is the election in 2019”, closely followed by “how to register to vote” and “where to register to vote”.
This was primarily due to the final voter registration held this past weekend. Evaluating the quality of the data and the facts that will be thrown around willy-nilly in the next couple of months, is also a major area for Google – who have partnered with Africa Check for this. Kate Wilkinson, acting chief editor at Africa Check, provided three examples of misleading information that get spread by political parties.
“This is an idea of what to look out for, and not an exhaustive list .