Is MIPPCI loosening its power on Twitterzuela?

Is MIPPCI loosening its power on Twitterzuela?

Published on 09 Oct 2023

The "hashtag of the day" does not add up to as many tweets anymore.

For years, the conversation on X (former Twitter) trends in Venezuela has been dictated by the guidelines of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIPPCI), which through the promotion of specific tags has been contaminating the conversation on the network in a mostly inorganic way. However, things seem to be changing.

It is true that MIPPCI continues to do its regular job of pushing pro-state X-tags aligned with the narratives that the regime wants to impose, what is changing is the effectiveness in amplifying this conversation.

What the numbers say

MIPPCI has stood out among the actors involved in the digital socio-political conversation in X due to the fact that it usually concentrates the largest number of trends that manage to accumulate almost the totality of tweets registered in Venezuela.

In fact, at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, the amount of tweets generated increased, highlighting the month of March 2023 as the month with the highest registration of messages observed by ProBox so far (50,395,100 tweets). However, since that time a strange drop in its activity has been identified.

While the overall Venezuelan conversation has decreased in X trends, MIPPCI’s drop is overwhelming: during the first quarter of 2023 (January to March) the monthly average of tweets promoted by this State entity stood at around 38,815,050 tweets per month, the monthly average of the last quarter (July-September) stood at 4,069,405 tweets per month.

If we compare the first quarter of the year with the last one so far, we can observe a decrease of almost 90% in the number of monthly tweets recorded.

Despite the abrupt drop in the number of messages in the trends promoted by MIPPCI, the number of tags on average has remained at around 36 per month, so they continue to promote the same number of tags but these do not manage to accumulate the same number of tweets as they did previously.

September: the worst month for MIPPCI

September is by far the month in which MIPPCI achieved the least diffusion of its promoted tags. The 35 tags promoted by the Ministry registered only 1,225,116 tweets approximately, while in March 2023 the tweets promoted by this organization exceeded 50 million messages.

An example of the drastic decrease of the MIPPCI can be seen in trends such as #ChávezHechoMillones, positioned on March 15, which accumulated around 2,350,000 tweets, registering in one day almost twice the number of tweets registered in the whole month of September by this actor.

Those that were not trending

In addition to decreasing in the number of tweets, MIPPCI is not managing to position all the tags it promotes as trending.

Between June and September there have been 4 cases of tags of the day that were promoted by MIPPCI and failed to trend such as: #EmpoderarElPoderPopular published on June 29, #NicolásMaduroEsPueblo published on July 25, #VenezuelaYChinaIndestructibles published on September 14 and #VenezuelaYArgeliaAmigasSiempre promoted on September 15.

A key issue is that June has been the month with the lowest number of tags registered (30 trends) and September the month with the fewest tweets registered (1,225,116 tweets apx.) so far since ProBox started monitoring the Venezuelan socio-political conversation on X.

What MIPPCI did manage to promote

During the last two months, the electoral theme was present in MIPPCI’s topics. Although the only near electoral process in the Venezuelan panorama are the primary elections called by the opposition in view of the 2024 presidential elections, the Ministry of Communications has promoted several trends in support of Nicolás Maduro that, together with the videos and images they contain, seem to be an electoral “pre-campaign” for the candidacy of Nicolás Maduro for the next presidential elections.

Trends such as #MaduroSíVa, promoted on July 27, #ElTipoEsMaduro, from August 14 and #MaduroEsVictoriaSegura from September 19, are increasingly common in MIPPCI’s messages.

Although this actor’s trending messages have declined significantly, trending momentum remains within the regular average as we explained above, with four main themes standing out in September in MIPPCI narratives:

  • China relations (6 trends, 236,700 tweets apx.).
  • Esquibo (5 trends, 197,300 tweets apx.)
  • Support for Maduro (5 trends, 195,500 tweets apx.)
  • Operation in Tocorón (5 trends, 105,016 tweets apx.,)

Also noteworthy is the case of September 20, day in which the MIPPCI promoted three tags in the framework of the operation in the Tocorón prison (#LiberaciónDeTocorón, #CaciqueGuaicaipuroEnAcción and #SeAcabóTocorón) and between the three only gathered about 61,516 tweets, without reaching a tenth part of the largest tags promoted by the Ministry.

For more information on socio-political manipulation in social media you can follow us on social media as @ProBoxVe.

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