Govt to hire social media experts to monitor media in 716 districts

The executives are being recruited to understand the pulse of the region and be the eyes and ears for the government, says an MIB official

e4m by Nishant Saxena
Published: May 17, 2018 9:00 AM  | 4 min read

With the 2019 Lok Sabha elections inching close, the BJP government seems keen to keep an eye on regional developments and understand the mood of the people across the country.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is all set to hire Social Media Executives in 716 districts across the country to monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and collect data on regional events etc.

“They are being recruited to understand the pulse of the region and be the eyes and ears for the government,” an official in the ministry told exchange4media on the condition of anonymity.

“Around Rs 20 crore has already been sanctioned for the project for three years,” the official added.

According to the details released by Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL), following would be the responsibilities of the Social Media Executives:

• Collect data on regional media and local events 

• Provide content for social media, support media units of MIB at district/regional level for social media publicity

• Monitor local editions of newspapers, local cable channels, local audio channels (FM) and important local social media handles for important local developments

• Collate and analyse important local news with a focus on issues related to government 

• Send daily analysis report incorporating local sentiment to ADG (Region) and Media Hub (command centre)

• In case of emergency local developments, report immediately to ADG (Region) and Media Hub 

• Provide feedback as per the directions of ADG (Region) and Media Hub.

• Identify positive stories regarding various initiatives and appraise New Media Wing/Ministry to disseminate the success through various platforms

• Act as the nodal point of contract during crisis situation

• Check spread of fake and incorrect news and information and bring it to the notice of NMW/ADG (Region)/Media Hub

• Carry out perception analysis on various events, initiatives, schemes etc. of government

• Perform any other work as directed by Media Hub Command Centre/NMW/ADG (Region).

BECIL has also issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) inviting bidder/agencies for SITC (supply, installation, testing & commission) of software and service and support for function, operation and maintenance of the Social Media Communication Hub, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

As per the ‘Scope of Work’ mentioned in the proposal, the platform needs to support Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, Play Store, eMail, News, Blogs, Forums and Complaint Websites. The tool should have the capability to crawl World Wide Web and social media to monitor and analyze emerging trends as well as gauge the sentiments among the netizens.

The government has a long list of expectations from the tool. It also wants it to predict news coverage.

“Headline and breaking news of various channels and newspapers across the globe” could be predicted “with knowledge about their leanings, business deals, investors, country policies, sentiment of their population, past trends etc,” reads the proposal.

The tool should predict “what would be the global public perception due to such headlines and breaking news, how could the public perception be moulded in a positive manner for the country, how could nationalistic feelings be inculcated in the masses, how can the perception management of India be improved at the world level or how could the media blitzkrieg of India’s adversaries be predicted and replied/neutralized, how could the social media and internet news/discussions be given a positive slant for India,” the proposal further reads.

Interestingly, BECIL had uploaded a similar RFP for the same project  on February 10, 2018 also. It even conducted a pre-bid meeting which was attended by 17 applicants.

“But only two companies applied for the technical bid-- Silver Touch and Fourth Dimension. Both qualified. However, the financial bid was cancelled because it required three or more applicants,” the official added.

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