Tuiteros de la Patria protest: Maduro’s regime doesn’t pay them either

Tuiteros de la Patria protest: Maduro’s regime doesn’t pay them either

Published on 30 May 2023

Public workers and pensioners are not the only ones demanding their salaries.

  • It is not only teachers and public employees, the “Tuiteros de la Patria” (tweeters of Homeland) positioned trends on Twitter denouncing failures in the payment of their bonus.
  • Through Sistema Patria, Maduro’s regime pays people to push tags and generate an inorganic conversation in networks.

The Tuiteros de la Patria protested on the social network of the little bird. The reason? Apparently the Government of Nicolás Maduro did not cancel them on time the bonus transferred through the Patria System for the provision of their services. And what is their service? Promoting the Government’s propaganda through Twitter, with the purpose of boosting and amplifying its narratives in the digital conversation.

Every day, from its official Twitter account, the Ministry of People’s Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI) promotes one (or more) “tags of the day” that the tweeters of the homeland promote through their social media; not necessarily because they believe in them or want to talk about those topics, but because with each tweet they post, they get points that they convert into money that they receive in the form of bonuses.

Apparently in May the bonus money did not arrive on time, or at least not in full. In the Twitter conversation we registered #RespetoParaLosTuiteros (respect for the Tweeters) and #TuiterosPatria as a form of digital protest to claim the money each one was entitled to for boosting the tags of the day promoted by MIPPCI.

We tell you what happened

On Wednesday, May 17, a campaign began in networks to demand respect for the “work” of the Tuiteros de la Patria. The hashtag #RespetoParaLosTuiteros was boosted with approximately 6,700 tweets among a community wondering about their bonus payments. Suddenly, tweeters, usually accustomed to promoting tags inorganically mainly for propaganda, were developing a digital protest on Twitter.

Another hashtag used on the same day was #TuiterosPatria which had approximately 4,800 tweets. The interesting thing about these conversations is that while criticizing the problems with the payments, they continued to promote the hashtags promoted by MIPCCI that day.

On Thursday, May 18, the protest continued. The hashtag #RespetoParaLosTuiteros got approximately 10,000 tweets this day.

Tweeters protest, reach goes down

Between May 1 and May 24, MIPPCI has promoted 27 trends that on average accumulated 548,770 tweets each. This is a very high figure when compared to tags promoted by civil society (which reach about 20 thousand tweets), although it may seem low when compared to MIPPCI tags in the previous month.

In April MIPPCI boosted 31 trends, however when selecting the first 27 of the month, we found that on average each one accumulated at least 934,667 tweets.

Comparing the two months, we recorded that the average number of messages per trend has decreased by at least 385,897 tweets.

The reduction in the volume of tweets this month coincides precisely with the protests by Homeland Twitterers over payment timing glitches. Coincidence?

Tuitero de la Patria: a real job?

In a country like Venezuela, where 81% of citizens live in poverty and where the minimum wage does not reach $5 a month, the option of earning money by tweeting whatever the government says, in exchange for bonuses, has become a widespread practice within the most vulnerable population.

Although it is not a real job, for many citizens registering in the Sistema Patria as a Tuitero de la Patria represents an extra income that many times becomes their main income.

A paper published by Cazadores de Fake News, a Tuitera who works with more than 15 different Twitter accounts points out that she earns around $80 a month for boosting MIPPCI tags. For her, this is her main job.

The amount of money a homeland tweeter can generate will depend on the number of tweets and tags she boosts. In addition to a monthly bonus, the tweeters receive rewards for achievements and goals reached during the week.

The Tuiteros de la Patria are people who are coordinated among themselves in an inauthentic way and who can manage several fake profiles to amplify mostly narratives dictated by official entities of chavismo, especially from MIPPCI.

From our ProBox Digital Observatory we have monitored the socio-political conversation in networks, detecting and denouncing the role of officialdom as the main responsible for the contamination of the real conversation on Twitter.

The executive director of ProBox, Mariví Marín Vázquez, points out that although this type of amplification strategies violate Twitter’s usage policies, specifically those related to spam and manipulation of the platform, many twitterers in the homeland continue with this practice because they need the money.

“People who are part of the network of homeland tweeters do not necessarily know that this is a bad thing, but precisely understand it as a job. This makes the regime take advantage of people’s need to, in the face of the crisis, give people bonuses for spreading their propaganda,” Marín points out.

Why is it wrong to be a Tuitero de la Patria?

Although many Tuiteros de la Patria seek only to receive weekly “prizes” in the form of economic incentives (bonuses) through the Carnet de la Patria, by amplifying tags without adding any related content or generating a real conversation they are violating Twitter’s usage policies.

The social network states that “you may not use Twitter services for the purpose of artificially amplifying or suppressing information, nor carry out actions that manipulate or hinder the user experience or the platform’s manipulation defenses.”

The ban applies especially to fake interactions that aim to make accounts or content appear more popular or active than they actually are and coordinated activities that seek to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts, automated actions or scripts.

When an account engages in these practices, Twitter is responsible for limiting the visibility of the content and reviewing the accounts involved, which may be permanently or temporarily suspended.

In addition, being a twitterer of the homeland and being part of the chavista digital troop, inauthentic tags are being promoted, which makes it almost impossible for real issues such as, for example, the workers’ struggle, to position themselves as a trend on Twitter, as they have to compete against all the pollution and manipulation generated by the regime in the digital conversation.

Remember that you can follow us on all social networks by searching @ProBoxVE to keep up to date with the most relevant news of the digital conversation in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

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