MDAs must embrace social media, use it to their advantage – Oppong-Nkrumah

A Deputy Information Minister-designate says it is time government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) embraced social media and used it to their advantage.

Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah believes this will cure the mischief where people clone accounts of prominent ministers and key government actors for dishonourable purposes.

Answering questions from members of Parliament’s Appointment Committee, Thursday, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ofoase Ayirebi said MPs and other government actors must have verifiable social media accounts.

He said, “as part of efforts to strengthen government communication, MDAs and key government actors must have social media accounts, we will go through a process to make sure they are verified so people know and can believe the information they send out.”

He added that once he is approved, he will ensure that the Ministry links the social media accounts of the MDAs to the traditional online.

Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said this after the Asokwa MP, Patricia Appiagyei, sought to find out how the Information Ministry was going to integrate social media into government’s information dissemination strategy. 

He explained that the exigencies of the times have made it necessary to find a way to marry traditional media and social media to work smoothly.

The former host of Joy FM’s flagship Super Morning Show programme, however, was quick to point out that there are risks of cloning of accounts and sending of fake news with such accounts. 

Mr Oppong-Nkrumah said the Ministry’s way of curbing cloning is by working with the mainstream media to enable the Ministry to work out a feedback channel as a means of validating information being circulated.

He said the Ministry will also open engagement channels with the media houses to enable them have verified and validated information they receive from government social media accounts.

The Deputy Information Minister-designate emphasised the benefits of MPs owning accounts that can be verified which he believes can nullify whatever fake information is out there.

The Procurement Minister and MP for Dome Kwabenya, Adwoa Safo revealed she is a victim of a fake account on social media.

“I am not on Facebook and Twitter. The closest I have come to social media is WhatsApp but people have created a fake account in my name.

“Adwoa Sarfo Kantanka is not me on social media. The English the person writes even shows it is not me. Another person has created another account Honourable Sara Adwoa Sarfo and using my pictures,” she said. 

The MP said the fake account is reported to have posted a message attributed to her saying that the vehicle of journalist Kwesi Pratt has been seized by government after President Nana Akufo-Addo’s inauguration.

To prevent this from happening, Mr Oppong-Nkrumah recommended that when one has a social media account which is verified, others are unable to use their names on social media to post fake news. 

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