#RegionalElections2021: Maduro paid again to position his message on Twitter

#RegionalElections2021: Maduro paid again to position his message on Twitter

Published on 26 Nov 2021

The Officialism was the actor that talked the most about the elections, especially from entities and members of the State Cabinet.

On November 21, regional and municipal elections were held in Venezuela, where executive and legislative positions were elected in the country’s 23 states and 335 municipalities.


After 15 years, a European Union Electoral Observation Mission (MOE-EU) returned to the country to verify the conditions and development of the electoral process in Venezuela. Other organizations such as the Carter Center and a panel of experts from the United Nations also participated as observers in the elections.


According to the first bulletin issued by the National Electoral Council (CNE), Maduro’s regime obtained 20 governorships and the Mayor’s Office of the Libertador Municipality (Caracas), while the opposition obtained 3 governorships, however, in the State of Barinas the results have not been confirmed and in Apure there have been opposition protests because the candidate for the Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, Luis Lippa, claims to have obtained the victory, while the CNE has already proclaimed the pro-Chavez Eduardo Piñate.


Another relevant milestone is that for this electoral process and for the first time, the CNE included digital platforms within the electoral campaign regulations, urging candidates to comply in social networks with the same criteria applied for the traditional campaign, according to the Organic Law of Electoral Processes (Lopre) and its Regulations. Despite the fact that officially the electoral campaign began on October 28, in our monitoring of trends we registered the first officialist trend linked to the elections in February 2021, followed by #ChavezEsPrimariasPsuv with approximately 4,079 tweets, positioned by PSUV militants in May demanding primaries to be held within the party.


INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATION ON THE DIGITAL ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN


On November 23, the head of the European Union electoral observation mission, Isabel Santos, presented at a press conference a preliminary report on her findings during the elections. In one of the sections she highlights the use of digital media and its growth in the country due to the censorship of traditional media, in addition to the distrust of citizens in the media in general: “Half of Venezuelans (about 14 million people) are users of social networks. The Internet has increased its relevance in recent years following the loss of trust in traditional media, some of which are subject to government control. The lack of paper caused many newspapers to come into existence only in their digital version, which increased the importance of online media.”


Between the governments of Chavez and Maduro more than a hundred media have been closed, web portals such as El Pitazo or Efecto Cocuyo have been censored and blocked and during the first semester of 2021 at least 151 cases of violations against freedom of expression were registered in Venezuela according to Espacio Público, where the most affected are press workers. This has turned social networks into a source of information; in addition to a space for freedom of expression and the articulation of digital social protest of citizens.


For this reason, at ProBox we took it upon ourselves to analyze the socio-political conversation on Twitter trends in Venezuela, determining what percentage of this conversation has been made by real users and how much of it was manipulated by possible automated accounts or bots, with the intention of influencing public opinion on social networks.


From February to November we registered around 1,884,956 messages in the electoral conversation, the Officialism drove the largest number of trends and tweets, generating 91.6% of the messages about the elections on Twitter.


THE RULING PARTY’S DIGITAL RESOURCES FOR THE 21ST OF NOVEMBER.


The EU Mission report also highlights that, “Some institutions and public officials continued to use their official accounts in social networks to support the ruling party.”


According to our monitoring, out of the 103 electoral trends of the year, 39 were positioned by the Radical Officialism. Diosdado Cabello, deputy of the Venezuelan National Assembly and vice president of the PSUV, from his program “Con el Mazo Dando” broadcast on Venezolana de Televisión, a state-owned television channel although openly linked to the ruling party, was the main actor promoting the topic: he promoted 17 trends in favor of the PSUV political party. The last of them, #VenezuelaTieneConQué on November 17 with around 13,029 tweets.


Once the electoral campaign started on October 28, it was revealed that the official slogan of the PSUV was “Venezuela has what it takes” and this message was positioned several times by State entities.


However, before the campaign started, even before it was made public that this would be the political slogan of the ruling party’s bench: on September 28 (one month before the formal start of the campaign) the Ministry of People’s Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI) positioned the trend #VenezuelaTieneConQué with around 20,000 tweets, repeating October 9 and 21 as the hashtag of the day.


We identified MIPPCI as the largest generator of electoral messages: it promoted 8 trends that generated 67% of the total messages of the electoral conversation between February and November. Half of these trends make direct propaganda to the PSUV and the Gran Polo Patriotico, in violation of electoral regulations as it is a State entity.



MANIPULATING THE DIGITAL CONVERSATION WITH BONUSES


Our analysis reveals that on average 66.85% of the content in the MIPPCI trends was inorganic (generated by possible fake or automated accounts).


Twitter’s spam and manipulation policy states that, “you may not use Twitter services for the purpose of artificially amplifying or suppressing information, or take actions that manipulate or hinder the user experience on Twitter” and that “coordinating with or rewarding others to generate artificial interactions or amplification, even if the individuals involved use a single account” as it breaches its policies.


On Monday, November 22, one day after the elections, the “communication channel” account of the political party Movimiento Somos Venezuela, initiated by Nicolás Maduro and led by Delcy Rodríguez (current vice-president of the regime), published on Twitter a message informing about the delivery of the bonus to people who “stood out in social networks (Twitter)” corresponding to the week of November 15-21 through the State system “Carnet de la Patria”.

Go to all articles
  • Other related contents

  • 01

    #FakeLikes: The manipulation behind the alleged banning of Maduro on social media

    The Venezuelan regime's new strategy to viralize false censorship online

    Read more
  • 02

    The power machine: how Maduro weaves his propaganda network

    Although Maduro was officially declared a candidate in March 2024, he has been promoting his reelection since 2023.

    Read more
  • 03

    Resistance online: Nicaraguan civil society against Ortega's "Peace Law"

    The answer for 2018 is a "Peace Law".

    Read more
  • 04

    Misogyny advances in the shadow of social media trends

    Internet fuels new forms of misogyny

    Read more
  • 05

    Discreditation failed: civil society defends Rocío San Miguel online

    Citizens support Rocío San Miguel in the face of disinformation from the Regime

    Read more
  • 06

    #LupaElectoral: the attack on civic space prior to the Venezuelan Presidential elections

    The persecution and detention of activists, together with legislative projects and political disqualifications, regained strength at the beginning of 2024.

    Read more
  • Subscribe

    Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

    Subscribe