During last Thursday’s presentation we discussed the potential that online social media can have as an international development tool. Finding alterative uses for social networks that address problems within communities can be of great use to solve problems that are specific to the development world. One such instance is the case of corruption, a problem that’s common in the developing world. Through the use of the social network ipaidabribe users can anonymously mention instances where they paid a bribe creating a registry of corrupt officials and officers in the country. Although the site was previously mentioned in this blog I would like to expand on the way it works and its potential for the developing world.
Currently, the main site is focused on corruption instances in India with alternate webpages for Greece, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Additionally, it is currently developing web pages to report corruption in Azerbaijan, South Africa, Ukraine and Tunisia. To address corruption, the webpage is divided into 3 main sites: I paid a bribe, I am a bribe fighter, and I met an honest officer. Through these sections of the webpage individuals can provide reports of instances where they were forced to pay a bribe, where they asked for one but refused to pay it and where they received help from an especially helpful government-employed person without him asking for a bribe. In these reports the individuals can detail as much as they want the situation pinpoint exactly information that may lead to the identification of those that asked for bribes or refused them.
Through this method awareness is brought to the problem of corruption and by identifying individuals that demand bribes their supervisors or law enforcement agencies can investigate the issue and give the appropriate sanctions. With almost 2,000,000 reports in India alone the system seems to be working and helping reduce corruption in the country.