Advice to Candidates on Personal Safety

As more aspects of the election have moved online, a number of cybersecurity risks have emerged. For candidates, political parties and EMBs, their online personas are an extension of their real-world activities and are intertwined with their reputations and reach. Election campaigns increasingly take place online, mediated over a variety of platforms.

The integrity of the online personas is vital to the reliability of the information available to voters and the ability for the actors to express themselves freely. Unfortunately, there are countless instances where candidates’ social media accounts have been allegedly attacked and incendiary or disparaging content posted, or EMB accounts have been used to make false pronunciations. In the context of EMBs, even if the statement itself is corrected, the body may suffer credibility questions.

Accordingly, providing advice to actors on securing their accounts, responding to online harassment and reporting issues of concern can help protect the integrity of the information ecosystem.



Providing advice to various actors on cyber hygiene:

  • How to secure accounts, considering the various platforms in use and the functionalities each offer:
    • Advice on best practice for online activity and securing their online platforms, support on standard operating procedures and context-specific approaches.
    • Support on protocols for tracking unauthorized activity or hijacking of accounts—both with regards to the reclaiming of accounts and the communications to mitigate the reputational damage of the incident.
  • Tools and features to prevent online harassment: The use of block, mute, report and other tools. Also explore the use of more complex blockers for environments where harassment is particularly rife.
  • Platform tools for reporting information pollution:
    • Any concierge facilities.
    • Where applicable, the platforms may also open up alternative channels for reporting and fast action.


Who is best placed to implement the activity? 

Depending on the country, this could be undertaken by technology-related CSOs, the EMB, international organizations or the platforms themselves.


How to ensure context specificity and sensitivity? 

Advice to political candidates and parties carries the potential accusations of bias, meaning that the project should be designed to avoid such risks. The specific curriculum can be designed based on the platform use and audiences specific to that country’s election.


How to involve youth?  

Youth-dominated CSOs may be placed in support roles in the delivery of such activities.


How to ensure gender sensitivity/inclusive programming?  

Minority groups and women are a more significant target for online attacks, including hate and harassment. Efforts should be made to reach out to these candidates in order to support their participation.


How to communicate about these activities?  

In order to enlist candidates, it may be useful to speak with the EMB or directly to political parties. Alternatively, a more open process could be established that avoids the complexities of deciding who to include and exclude.


How to coordinate with other actors/which other stakeholders to involve? 

There are various platforms that have a role in an election. The tools vary between them, meaning that the implementing agent should consider how to reflect this—be it through the inclusion of the key companies or the consolidation of the relevant material.


How to ensure sustainability? 

Building the capacity of technology-focused civil society may assist with the sustainability. Training of trainers could support on-going efforts.



  • Not all attacks can be prevented. The intent is to reduce the likelihood that there is a successful attack, have more clarity on how successful attacks are conducted and have response procedures in the event that an attack succeeds.
  • While some platforms have well-developed tools, others—especially newer platforms—have a limited service.


Facebook Protect

This programme offers candidates, their campaigns and elected officials a way to further secure their accounts.



In Yemen, using human and automated scanning methods, the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (OSESGY) is able to detect and analyse social media disinformation campaigns targeting the Special Envoy or the peace process as a whole. This allows the Office to weigh response options with a view to reducing the harm such campaigns can cause to the Special Envoy’s mediation mandate.

Central African Republic

In Central African Republic, the MINUSCA adopted a hybrid offline-online approach in a response that was specifically tailored to a context with limited Internet access. In addition to defending its staff, the mission used its own social media platforms and radio station to set the record straight and issue press releases addressing local warring parties in order to deflect accusations of partiality. It also used targeted, mass text messaging to address communities that did not have access to the Internet or social media platforms.


The Gender Barometer in Georgia was aimed at monitoring sexist speech during pre-election period. The objective of this project was to raise awareness on and expose incidents of gender bias against public figures and advocate their rights.





Information Integrity E-learning

Coming soon