Propaganda bots harass and intimidate AMLO´s government critics

Political bots are poisoning democracy. Credit: Mopic

To ask an ‘uncomfortable’ question in AMLO´s morning conferences in the ‘Palacio Nacional’ or to question the federal government has become a very sharp double-edged sword.

Anyone who dares to criticize the so-called “Fourth Transformation” is harassed, intimidated and subjected to a series of threats through social networks, driven by hundreds of false accounts, better known as “bots” or “trolls”.

This has been FULLY documented by specialists in social networks, universities and civil associations such as “LoQueSigue” -a citizen group of Internet analysis and social media- who have detected several groups that promote hashtags in favor of López Obrador and a total siege against those who criticize him or his government.

According to all the analysis, there are around more than 1,500 accounts that systematically coordinate multiple attacks, which end up being placed as trending topics on Twitter, with the main objective to suppress any criticism regarding AMLO or the federal administration.

Most of these operations are conducted by bots and cyborgs that enhance the messages by means of thousands of false accounts on Twitter and/or Facebook with repeated argumentative lines.

In an interview with Alberto Escorcia, from the civil organization -LoqueSigue- he explained that anyone who dares to question the federal government is harassed until despair by dozens of users. Even death threats and the creation of false content have been documented.

“No matter who it is. If someone dares to question Andrés Manuel López Obrador, they will be attacked. No matter the question, cascades of insults and threats do not stop in the following hours against that person” he explained.

Other organizations and experts in social media detected that in the president’s morning conferences, journalists that criticize his actions, are investigated immediately, their personal data is obtained, made public, and become harassed by thousands of hate and rage messages with the objective of discrediting them and inhibit future criticism.

MODUS OPERANDI
An account with thousands of followers launches the attack, which is reinforced with violent messages of hate or harassment and amplified by accounts of bots hundreds of times. This generates censorship and directly attacks freedom of expression. “Imagine that your cell phone does not stop from ringing during hours, due to notifications from Twitter or another social network where you are attacked, denigrated, threatened and discredited” explains Alberto Escorcia, from LoqueSigue.

Claudia Benassini, professor and researcher at La Salle University, explained that the government’s strategy in terms of communication has been unsuccessful, which is why they try to silence the opposition through other mechanisms:

“The government is doing a work of occurrence, in an improvised manner and for that reason they seek to counteract the questions through these measures, which, from my point of view, are desperate” she explained.

According to the reports, one of the social media agencies (already identified) with 50 employees develop this type of logistics and manage about 1,500 users (30 accounts per person) in order to position content and hashtags against a user or in favor of the government, depending on what is needed.

López Obrador and people close to his government have denied this practice and have ruled out the use of public resources for the operation of the so-called “bots” in the management of official and non-official accounts. AMLO has ensured that it is he personally, who manages his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, in conjunction with presidential spokesperson, Jesús Ramírez.

Lopez Obrador Twitter comparison

The reality shown in the world of the internet regarding AMLO… is quite the opposite of what he claims, and many wonder if this is just the beginning of something greater to come.

Source: Publímetro, LoQueSigue, Twitter, Facebook

 

The Yucatan Times
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