By: Mabinty M. Kamara
As elections draw nearer, social media will be flooded with fake websites, links, and social media handles programmed to propagate the three unholy Trinity of Disinformation, Misinformation, and Mal-information, creating chaos and confusion in the public’s minds.
Politicians and Institutions such as the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL), the National Elections Watch (NEW) and bilateral organisations such as embassies are possible targets for digital impersonation. You will see critical statements on the electioneering processes and purported election results.
A fake website created to impersonate ECSL’s Job advertisement portal
How to identify fake websites
The identity of a website is called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), also known as a link.
Let’s take, for example, the URL, or web address, of the Sierra Leone Association for Journalists:
https://www.slaj.sl/ – This Website has a protocol (Https://) Sub Domain Name (www.) and the Domain Name (slaj) and the Top level domain and country code (.sl/)
Note: Any website that has two domain names is fake and in that case, the second domain is the real domain whiles the first is the impersonated one.
For instance, the link Https://jobs.ec.sl.programmeagency.info/?m=1 is fake because it has two domain names jobs.ec.sl and programmeagency.info.
In this case, the actual domain name is “programmeagency.info” and not “job.ec.sl:”
The real website, therefore, is: https://ecslonlinejob.ec.gov.sl
Tips: The Domain name is the most important part of a website and it represents the name of the organization/institution or the person who owns the website. In this case, the domain name is ECSL.
If you want to verify if a link is genuine, you can always type in Google search –the name of the domain from the link you have, and compare if the URL matches with that which you are verifying.
This Public Education article is a product of the SLAJ/NDI SuperNewsRoom on Combating Disinformation in Sierra Leone’s 2023 electoral cycle. The project is supported by Global Affairs Canada to enable citizens to have access to credible and accurate information during the elections.
The SuperNewsRoom is powered by Africell SL.
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