How was the disinformation experienced prior to the 2023 Primaries?

How was the disinformation experienced prior to the 2023 Primaries?

Published on 23 Oct 2023

Event available on YouTube in Spanish

*** On October 5, ProBox Digital Observatory participated in a discussion organized by Medianálisis, which focused on unveiling the misinformation surrounding the opposition primary process prior to its realization.

Although the presidential elections have no date yet and would be scheduled for the second semester of 2024, the opposition sought a single candidate to face Nicolás Maduro next year through a primary process. This electoral event was marked, since its conception, by a wide disinformation campaign seeking to invalidate the process and its candidates.

The monitoring of the disinformation process around the opposition primary has been evaluated by different organizations such as Observatorio Digital ProBox, Transparencia Venezuela, EsPaja and Medianálisis. The summary of the main disinformation campaigns prior to the primary was the main topic of the forum Primary Elections at the center of disinformation.

From direct attacks to the candidate María Corina Machado, to disinformation about the process as such, to threats and promotion of labels in X (former Twitter) by government officials and institutions, the pre-electoral environment may be revealing larger disinformation processes that could be generated in the run-up to the presidential elections.

From “Con el Mazo Dando” the primaries were attacked

The Digital Observatory ProBox registered between January and September 29 electoral trends that accumulated more than 150,000 tweets, however, this number is still a modest number taking into account that in that same range of time 655 trends were positioned in the country.

The general coordinator of ProBox, Estefanía Da Silva, assured that although the opposition parties have been leading on the issue of the primaries, the ruling party has also been participating, mainly from the program “Con el Mazo Dando” of the ruling party leader Diosdado Cabello, being this even the second actor that has generated the second largest number of tweets about the primaries and the electoral processes in the country.

“Diosdado Cabello has promoted narratives with tags promoted in his program and in all his platforms with messages towards the candidates and phrases such as ‘No te vestir que no vas’ to refer to the primary process”, Da Silva points out.

The coordinator of ProBox assured that the campaign from Diosdado Cabello’s side is also complemented with the promotion of tags by the Ministry of Communication and Information (MIPPCI) related to what already seems to be the beginning of a presidential campaign by Nicolás Maduro. Tags such as #MaduroSiVa or #MaduroVamosPaLante have been repeated.

In fact, ProBox data show that in September only the ruling party talked about elections in X in Venezuela, in this month the opposition did not position any trend on the subject and the conversation has been varying a lot to boost this officialist discourse especially from the radical wing.

“We have registered 14 trends driven from MIPPCI as support for Nicolás Maduro with a narrative that, while not explicitly saying that they are talking about elections, are messages such as #Madurosíva, #EltipoesMaduro, #MaduroesVictoriaSegura and many more phrases that have also been using around the conversation around the primaries.” Da Silva added.

The attack against María Corina Machado

For Victor Amaya, director of EsPaja, there are two moments in the primary campaign in which the disinformation issue can be divided. The first, much more notorious, has to do with María Corina Machado.

“She has been the candidate about whom the greatest amount of disinformation has been poured in the Venezuelan public conversation by different actors. We have identified that much has to do with Diosdado Cabello, who has been one of the most constant disseminators of disinformation in the case of María Corina specifically, although he is not the only one”, said the journalist.

The second disinformative moment recorded by EsPaja was generated in the last month, when the disinformation stopped being so focused on María Corina Machado as candidate and became much more focused on the primary process.

“The disinformation in September had more to do with the use of the electoral registry for the lists of voters that are qualified, also with a supposed collaboration in bolivars or in money in dollars that would have to be made at the moment of going to vote and many other cases”, assured Amaya.

On its part, Medianálisis, through its portal, has also been detecting disinformative processes prior to the primary election. The coordinator of this portal, Mariangel Durán, spoke about this during the forum.

“We have detected quite a lot of disinformative content associated with the electoral process in Venezuela and we accumulated some 39 verifications made in the period from March to September 2023”.

Follow us on all social media platforms as @ProBoxVE for more information and content on these issues.

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