The deputy minister nominee for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has encouraged governmental agencies to embrace the use of social media and desists from the current practice of avoidance.

He made the appeal while he was being vetted at the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday April 6.

“My advice to government, ministries, departments and agencies and key government functionaries, is that we cannot run away from the social media phenomenon, we have to embrace it and get ahead of it so that its ills are cured.”

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This has left the door open for fraudster to create fictitious online accounts using the identities of politicians. Some members of the Appointments Committee said their identities had been used to dupe unsuspecting members of the public.

The former radio show host, Oppong Nkrumah, advised his colleague legislators to get onto social media themselves, like he is, and have their accounts verified as a means of averting such scams.

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“One of the best ways to avoid some of these things happening, is to have a social media account that is verified. This is a process by which technical companies that put up these social media platforms give you an opportunity to directly engage with them and submit your details based on which they would put a specific verification feature on your account. It is usually a blue tick and what it does is that, anybody who goes to that account knows that this is an account that Twitter or Facebook has verified as validly belonging to you. You are also able to report when someone puts up a cloned account.”

According to him, the government was going to roll out a programme that would make social media presence a requirement for ministries and district assemblies compulsory.

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

Analysis

Many of Ghana’s ministries, departments and agencies are yet to fully explore the opportunities modern communication presents in the quest to deliver government services. Websites of these agencies either do not exist or have not been update with current information for many months.

Ahead of the December 2016 elections, the former Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor, suggested a ban on social media if tensions got too high, a suggestion for which he was heavily criticised for.