Citizen Protest vs. State Online Fiction

Citizen Protest vs. State Online Fiction

Published on 03 Jul 2023

How many tweets does it take to manipulate a country?

In 2022, 1,242 socio-political hashtags were positioned as trending on Twitter in Venezuela, summing up around 200,589,106 tweets. On average, 104 trends and almost 17 million messages were produced monthly in the conversation; however, not all of these were generated by real users nor did they have truthful content that spoke about the social and political dynamics experienced in the country during 2022.

In our Annual Report we highlight the most relevant findings of the conversation and the behavior of the five main actors we have identified in the positioning of Venezuelan trends on Twitter.

Although the country’s tweeting activity decreased compared to 2021, an important fact continues to be the massiveness of the Officialism; of the more than 200 million messages, only 15 million belong to a different sector of society. However, it is relevant to highlight that the Official Party was also the actor with the highest average of messages made by possible automated or inauthentically coordinated accounts, that is to say, it was the one with the highest average of manipulation of the Twitterzuela conversation.

In the special section on disinformation support between Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, we detailed the analysis of at least 29 hashtags trending at the same time in the three countries during 2022; demonstrating how this triple alliance, in addition to the censorship patterns in each of their contexts, use the same strategies on the control of information and support each other to impose their narratives on social media.

These actions seem to be a manual that is repeated almost identically in the three countries, demonstrating how these regimes contaminate and manipulate information that they cannot directly control.

Social networks have become an additional battlefield for the positioning of messages, as well as an increasingly relevant element for the construction of public opinion, especially in countries with authoritarian contexts. This report is also a call for us to not underestimate the power of social media, one of the few spaces available for accessing independent information and for citizen organization.

Remember that you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok as @ProBoxVE, to find more information on these topics.

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