Positions in: Mali, Sudan
Do you want to help expose the puppet-masters behind disinformation networks and toxic content?
Code for Africa (CfA) has an immediate vacancy for an Investigative Data Analyst with extensive forensic research and/or investigative data analytics experience based in Mali, Sudan.
The successful candidates will work as part of CfA’s internal iLAB team of forensic data scientists and OSINT researchers, who use digital collaboration tools to create evidence-based dossiers and other actionable content for a global audience and for international watchdog media partners.
The iLAB works in support of the African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR), which is a CfA initiative that brings together the continent’s best muckraking newsrooms to investigate crooked politicians, organised crime and big business. The iLAB spearheads investigations that individual ANCIR newsrooms are unable to tackle on their own. This includes forensic analysis of suspected digital disinformation campaigns or toxic content aimed at misleading citizens or triggering social discord or polarisation using hate speech or radicalisation or other techniques.
- Demonstrable investigative skills honed from at least two years experience in investigative journalism, prosecutorial law, OSINT intelligence, due diligence, asset tracking, compliance, or other investigative professions with precision writing skills. CfA will not consider any applicants who served with government intelligence agencies.
- An understanding of influence operations, including both disinformation and misinformation, as well as digital amplification and viral media techniques would be a benefit.
- Critical thinking skills, and an obsessive attention to detail, with excellent numeracy and analytical skills.
- Effective written and verbal communication skills.
- Proficient in French and English (Spoken, written)
(candidates who are able to demonstrate the following will have an advantage)
- Experience with statistical software (e.g. R, Python, MATLAB) and database languages (e.g. SQL) for network analysis, as well as using tools such Brandwatch or CrowdTangle for social media analysis.
- Experience in using digital technologies for conducting OSINT investigative research into influence operations and related mis-/disinformation techniques, and/or analysis of online polarisation or hate-speech or extremism/militancy and other malign content, and/or experience at using data-driven network analysis/named entity recognition tools for analysing PEPs (politically exposed people) or PIPs (politically influential people) or institutional networks.
- Familiarity with mining and handling large datasets, with demonstrable skills in selecting the right statistical tools and articulating analytical questions/approaches given a data analysis problem.
- Experience working on the digital collaboration tools that CfA uses for managing workflow, ranging from Slack and Trello, to Github and Google Drive would be an advantage.
- Demonstrable creative problem-solving/lateral thinking skills and self-direction, with an ability to work consistently in a fast-paced environment. Willingness to learn new techniques, and teach others.
- An understanding of religious freedom/extremism, terrorism networks, international money laundering operations, and/or criminal structures would be a bonus.
Language and Location Requirements:
- Location: Mali, Sudan
- Languages: French and English
About the Role:
The successful candidates will be part of a ‘technology for good’ team of forensic researchers and data scientists/analysts at the iLAB, who work in support of African watchdog newsrooms and other human rights
The iLAB’s role is to offer these newsrooms/civic watchdogs a robust toolkit of open source intelligence (OSINT) leads and resources, along with investigative support for identifying and exposing disinformation and other influence operations intended to undermine our democracies and our economies, often by creating social discord or polarisation. Your duties will include helping to identify the sock-puppets, botnets, fake accounts and unwitting proxies used by the shadowy ‘puppet masters’ who are producing and disseminating false content. The iLAB also actively gathers evidence on corruption and organised crime affecting the public sector, and transforms the information into actionable data to help civic watchdogs and investigative media better understand the nexus between politically exposed/influential people (PEPs and PIPs) and organised crime networks, and their role in subverting public resources.
As an Investigative Data Analyst, you will help liberate the data-driven evidence used to expose and neutralise coordinated behaviour or other malign intentions. You will also help build the detailed datasets about PEPs, PIPs and organised crime and corruption that are needed for our partners to ‘join the dots’.
And, you will work with CfA’s Academy and other teams to help train others, including journalists and human rights defenders, to find the stories and trends hidden in the data.
- You will use CfA tools and methodologies to help research investigative leads and/or hypotheses, based on digital signals/evidence from public sources, and will analyse the evidence to produce timely and actionable insights.
- You will do so by planning and executing data gathering exercises involving Arabic language sources, based on specifications that you help your team define. You will apply appropriate advanced analysis strategies on the resulting large and complex datasets to solve difficult, non-routine analysis problems.
- You will help transform the resulting data-driven insights into clear narrative reports and presentations, underpinned by dossiers of verifiable evidence, for non-technical audiences in both Arabic and English.
- You will use the resulting signals and data to help watchdog partners, such as journalists, produce evidence-driven analysis and reportage that is accessible and understandable to both policymakers and the general public.
- You will be part of a team of custodians for CfA’s open access OSINT tools and platforms, including connected.AFRICA and CivicSignal and source.AFRICA, amongst others.
- You will help strengthen civil society and media capacity to undertake its own forensic data analysis, by supporting CfA training initiatives and by helping produce step-by-step courseware or tutorials teaching our methodologies.
- You will help build a multicultural and transnational team ethos that values creativity and human-centred design principles.
What We Offer:
- A competitive salary, subject to experience, with opportunities for performance-based growth, both in terms of career path and public stature.
- A dynamic workplace, with a transnational team, occasional international travel, and generous vacation benefits.
- Ongoing opportunities to learn new cutting-edge skills and techniques/technologies to future-proof yourself in a rapidly evolving industry.
- A chance to shine on a global stage, writing for international audiences and interacting with colleagues around the world.
How to apply:
Please fill in this form by 15 December 2021. Applications shall be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest network of indigenous African civic technology and investigative open data laboratories, with over 70 staff in 15 countries, who build digital democracy solutions that are intended to give citizens unfettered access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions and that strengthen civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability.
This includes building infrastructure such as the continent’s largest open data portal, open.AFRICA, and largest open source civic software portal, commons.AFRICA, as well as the largest repository of investigative document-based evidence, source.AFRICA, as well as incubating initiatives as diverse as the africanDRONE network that gives citizens their own ‘eyes in the sky’, the PesaCheck fact-checking initiative in 12 African countries, and the sensors.AFRICA remote-sensing citizen science initiative to combat air/water pollution.
The African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) is a CfA managed association of the continent’s best investigative newsrooms, ranging from large traditional mainstream media to smaller specialist units. ANCIR member newsrooms investigate crooked politicians, organised crime and big business. The iLAB is ANCIR’s in-house digital forensic unit, with teams in east, south and west Africa. ANCIR uses its resources to strengthen newsrooms’ own internal capacity, by providing access to the world’s best whistleblower encryption and investigative semantic analysis technologies, as well as skills development, and seed grants for cross-border collaboration.
At CfA, we don’t just accept differences – we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products and our community. CfA is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and is an affirmative action employer. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know.