The Officialism and its control of Twitterzuela so far in 2023

The Officialism and its control of Twitterzuela so far in 2023

Published on 19 Sep 2023

Venezuela Semi-Annual Report (January-June 2023)

During the first semester of 2023, the Venezuelan government once again dominated the social conversation on Twitter, now X, and imposed itself as the main actor that positioned socio-political trends in this social network.


In the semi-annual report on Venezuela (January-June 2023) we show how the Maduro regime’s communications apparatus operates to dominate the narratives, although it also reveals that civil society and even opposition actors have managed to drive trends in a sea of state tweets.


How did the Twitter conversation evolve?


From ProBox Digital Observatory we registered between January and June 2023 a total of 474 political and social hashtags positioned on X (formerly Twitter) as trending in Venezuela. These gather more than 183 million tweets between all of them.


As usual, the Officialism has been the dominant actor so far this year, generating 82.1% of the hashtags in the first half of the year. A pattern that has been maintained since we began the study of the Venezuelan socio-political conversation in 2019.


When looking at the number of tweets that grouped the 474 trends, the pro-government supremacy is much more alarming, since at least 97.2% of all socio-political messages in Venezuela between January and June belong to hashtags promoted by the State; this is equivalent to more than 178 million tweets.


The Ministry of People’s Power for Communication and Information (MIPPCI) continues to be the protagonist of the official communication machinery. Between January and June 2023, this agency promoted 213 trends that accumulated more than 170 million tweets.


Wages as a banner of citizen protest


Civil society was the second actor in positioning the highest number of trends in Venezuela with 29 social protest hashtags, accumulating around 232,153 messages.


From ProBox we were able to identify 6 reasons for protest, the main ones being economic demands for better salaries (10 trends), complaints of human rights violations (7 trends), reported gasoline shortages (4 trends) and complaints about service failures (4 trends).


Politics became a trend again


With the opposition primaries in the spotlight and the upcoming presidential elections, politics was again part of the conversation on Twitterzuela. During the first half of 2023, we registered 23 trends on electoral topics, totaling around 117,113 tweets.


The opposition was the category that generated the most electoral trends, especially the Opposition Parties (12 trends), followed by Vente Venezuela (6 trends) and the Unitary Opposition (3 trends).


Allies to misinform: Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua


Throughout the semester we managed to identify at least 9 trending topics positioned at the same time in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua; accumulating around 7,724,444 tweets. Most of these come from Venezuela (7 trends), one only comes from Cuba and the remaining trend is International.


In addition to this, the Cuban regime has been developing an important role in the conversation on Twitterzuela. A total of 20 of the 474 trends in the country between January and June 2023 belong to international actors, of these 16 trends come from Cuba, being the country with the highest number of hashtags positioned in the Venezuelan conversation.


What did the regime not talk about?


Although the state machinery of Maduro’s regime managed to impose its fiction on Venezuelan trends, at ProBox we carry out research that explains the citizen’s reality; helping to give visibility to the issues that the authoritarian power tries to hide.


At least 13 investigations stand out, ranging from the digital protest of the teachers’ union, the use of artificial intelligence to spread propaganda favorable to Maduro, the online fiction of the regime pretending to be a “feminist” government to hide a sexist country; to the reality behind the alleged anti-corruption fight against the new embezzlement of PDVSA and the campaign to sell Maduro as a “defender of Human Rights” on Twitter.


These investigations help to better understand the national panorama in order to make the citizen voice visible in the sea of inauthentic messages and labels promoted by the Venezuelan regime.



For more information on socio-political manipulation on social media, you can follow us everywhere at @ProBoxVE.

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