Thursday, February 16, 2023
HomeMarketingTwitter can be used to pinpoint hijacking hotspots in SA

Twitter can be used to pinpoint hijacking hotspots in SA

South African drivers are constantly at risk of being hijacked, says Patel.

According to Patel, over the last quarter, the country has recorded a steep increase in the number of incidents.

In the period between April and June 2022, 5 866 hijackings were reported across the country — resulting in a 14% increase from the previous period.

“The risk of high jackings is becoming greater,” adds Patel. “But what if there was a way we could mitigate this risk using a platform that people already trust?”

A social media platform like Twitter offers a constant flow of real-time information. Using this stream of up-to-date data, Patel says that it’s possible to visibly plot the occurrence of hijackings on a map. This can be used to:

  • inform other users
  • notify emergency responders, and
  • help law enforcement creates incident reports.

“The trick is knowing what Twitter data is relevant and what is simply a tweet. Aside from character limit, Twitter doesn’t have many restrictions — so it’s crucial that we put the right parameters in place to extract valid data,” Patel says.

To do this, Patel tested a combination of three machine learning techniques, to separate the topic of ‘hijacking’ from actual, relevant incident reports on Twitter. The three machine learning techniques are:

  1. Multilayer Feed-forward Neural Network
  2. Convolutional Neural Network, and
  3. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

“The MLFNN technique achieved 98.99% accuracy in determining the validity of tweets as hijacking reports. This is an extremely encouraging result and proves that we can successfully use social media data to develop a map that indicates hijacking hotspots,” adds Patel.

Patel concludes that his work is being turned into a mobile application that can be used to inform the general public of the dangers on the road. However, the opportunities for insights extracted from social media are endless.

Patel is one of 45 computer science and engineering graduates who are presenting at the 2022 SATNAC. This is a parallel development to the Telkom Centres of Excellence programme, which provides a platform for future industry leaders to present their research to current industry giants.

For more information, visit You can also follow Telkom on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.

Twitter hijacking hotspots in SA South Africa Twitter can be used to pinpoint hijacking hotspots in SA SA hijacking SATNAC 2022 Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference SATNAC Telkom conference



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