Rumours, hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation (i.e. misinformation created and spread by actors to achieve a certain goal), especially that which circulates over social media, have been identified as complex drivers of conflict in South Sudan and also threaten to raise tensions among South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries. According to the South Sudan Peacebuilding Dialogue report the diaspora community has identified hate speech over social media as a driver of discord. A 2018 report from the Rift Valley Institute (RVI) echoes this finding, stressing that while rhetoric formed abroad is inciting ethnic hatred and propagating ethnic division, there exist few verifiable and trusted sources of information for South Sudanese citizens.
Research indicates that members of the South Sudanese diaspora – including refugees and displaced persons – actively maintain communication networks through Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber, and there is a problem with false information spreading through these networks.
The Sentinel Project aims to fill these gaps by creating and maintaining a system which is accessible through various means and tasked with being a transparent and trusted source of information for South Sudanese people.