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19 Oct

#DebateEnRedes: the hashtag promoted by Lammens was the most popular on Twitter during the debate in Buenos Aires

Por Ariel Riera, Celeste Gómez Wagner and Mariela García

Updated 19 de December, 2019 at 4:26 pm

If you only have a few seconds, read these lines:

  • The debate on Twitter was focused on the two candidates with the most votes in the primary elections (PASO), who obtained almost the same amount of mentions.
  • However, the Frente de Todos was able to propel the hashtag #AhoraLammens around three times more than the hashtag used by the coalition Juntos por el Cambio to promote Larreta (#CompromisoLarreta).

That debate between the candidates for Head of Government in the city of Buenos Aires took place last Thursday, October 10, starting at 9 p.m. Among those present were Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (Juntos por el Cambio), Matías Lammens (Frente de Todos), Matías Tombolini (Consenso Federal) and Gabriel Solano (FIT-Unidad). The protagonists presented their proposals regarding the following topics: Urban Infrastructure and Management; Autonomy, Justice and Security; Education, Health, Culture and Human Development; and Housing, the Environment and Productive Development.

Although the stage was the TV channel Canal de la Ciudad and there was no audience attending, the political discussion was present on the social networks. In order to quantify that presence, the website Chequeado collected and analyzed all the tweets including keywords about the debate (the names and political spaces of the candidates, their official accounts and the hashtags used to refer to the debate) within 24 hours from when it started. The methodology used was developed by the Department of Public Policy Analysis at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP), who helped prepare the report.

Among other relevant data, 204 tweets related to the topic were registered. In addition, a peak was observed at 10:30 p.m., when Larreta was presenting his plans for Urban Infrastructure and Management, and Lammens questioned him about the “priorities” of his administration in contrast with the money spent on sidewalks and with the official agenda. There was a significant decrease in the number of tweets after the debate.

Number of tweets in the 2019 electoral debate in Buenos Aires

The data refers to the activity on Twitter between 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11, 2019. The data shows the number of tweets in Argentina in the 10 minutes following the scheduled time.

Source: Elaborated by Chequeado from a keyword search and from the accounts of the candidates for Head of Government in Buenos Aires.

Among the interactions connected to the debate on TV, almost 75% were retweets, which means there were more accounts replicating tweets than generating their own tweets. The most shared publication was made by Facundo Velastiqui (@MrVelastiqui), with more than 12 thousand shares, in which he criticizes a statement made by the candidate Lammens regarding classroom hours lost, a calculation that fact-checking website Reverso considered to be correct. The account was created in July 2017 and has 529 followers. Velastiqui, who describes himself in his biography as a “Student of Economics” and a “Classic Liberal”, demonstrated his support for the election of Mauricio Macri (see here).

Matías Lammens (@MatiasLammens) was the account with the most interactions on Twitter (including mentions, comments and retweets), followed by: Grupo Bulnes (@grupobulnes, a group of citizens supporting the Frente de Todos candidate); the news center account A24 (@A24COM), which shared portions of the live debate; the Buenos Aires representative of the Unidad Ciudadana, Victoria Montenegro (@MontenegroViki); and the national representative of the Frente para la Victoria Gabriela Cerruti (@gabicerru). Larreta did not make it to the top 10. It is important to clarify that the interactions may be either positive (compliments) or negative (criticism).

In the ranking of words used the most on tweets, the polarization between the candidates with the most votes in the primaries was visible: “lammens” was in first place with 25%, and “larreta” in second with 23%. “Ciudad” was third with 14%. The same publication may include more than one term, so the total percentages add up to more than 100%.

In addition, on Twitter, the hashtags indicate which terms are used the most, and allow us to think about the structure of the debate on the network. Among the tweets analyzed, 31% included #LaCiudadDebate, a hashtag promoted by the account Canal de la Ciudad (@CanalCiudadBA). In second place with 24% came #AhoraLammens, one of the hashtags proposed by the main opposition candidate from his official account. Larreta did the same with #CompromisoLarreta, although it came in third place with a significantly lower percentage (7%).

Lastly, among those participating in the discussion, the media also occupied is place. Considering the official accounts of the communication vehicles with the most followers and their participations in the conversation on Twitter about the debate in Buenos Aires, the first four were: Clarín (@clarin.com), A24 (@A24COM), Diario Crónica (@cronica), and Hi (@Haceinstantes), the news portal of the producer DK Group, led by the creative Diego Kolankowsky.

This order indicates both an account’s participation during the debate on Twitter and its ability to influence others (measured in number of followers). Therefore, Diario Crónica came in third place, despite having more followers than A24.

This article is part of the Digital Democracy Room initiative, led at the regional level by Fundação Getulio Vargas and in Argentina by Chequeado.

The analysis is available the website of Chequeado here.