19 Jan

The party Solidaridad Nacional attracted attention on social networks with attacks and disinformation about gender

OjoPúblico analyzed the debate in the electoral campaign with intelligence tools for social networks and measured how the yellow party positioned itself in the discussion, stiffening their image with controversial messages about gender

Por Carla Díaz

Updated 28 de January, 2020 at 12:34 pm

The party Solidaridad Nacional (SN) increased their presence on the social networks through controversial messages and personal attacks, although the major public opinion pools place them outside the voting intentions for next Sunday, January 26. OjoPúblico carried out a social network analysis with social intelligence tools and found that the yellow party provoked at least two of the episodes that caused the most reactions on Twitter so far in the campaign, one of which led the National Electoral Court (JNE) to impose a 344 thousand soles – more than 100 thousand dollars – last Wednesday due to a violation in the electoral campaign.

The analysis was carried out with the digital platform Brandwatch and was based in the collection of 1,337,226 interactions (tweets, retweets and replies) between November 18, 2019 – the due date for parties to confirm their lists – and January 15, 2020. From this collection, we took a sample with analytical value corresponding to 45%, which considered several key terms related to the elections, the social accounts of the political parties and their main candidates, as well as general topics such as corruption, human rights, racism, education, health, security, gender, poverty, and more.

The topic with the most impact in the electoral campaign so far has been the episode in which the candidate Mario Bryce, of the SN list, made an offensive gesture towards the candidate Julio Arbizu, of the party Juntos por el Perú, by giving him a bar of soap during a recent electoral debate. The event caused an explosion on the networks about the racist connotation of the gesture, with a total of 113,700 interactions generated from January 7 to 10. On the day of the scandal alone, 25,245 interactions related to the party were generated.

Before this episode, the party Solidaridad Nacional appeared only under the title “other” in the voting intention pools carried out by the research company Ipsos (in October) and by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (in November and December). These results remained, while a pool released on Thursday, January 16 indicated that 54% of the electors have not made a decision yet.

It is important to note that not all reactions to Bryce’s gesture on Twitter were positive. An analysis using the Trendsmap tool, which evaluates trends on Twitter, indicates that the controversy – which led to a preliminary investigation by the Prosecution Office and to a sanction process by the JNE – gave rise to two clearly distinguished communities with different reach: The community criticizing the gesture as a discriminatory and reprehensible act generated 57.4% of the interactions (tweets and retweets), while those favorable to it generated only 28.6%, including in the latter group those who supported Mario Bryce’s statement denying any racist intention, and the statement by the Solidaridad Nacional defending their candidate.
The Special Electoral Court decided on Friday that both the candidate Mario Bryce and the party Solidaridad Nacional must publicly apologize to the candidate Julio Arbizu and to his political group Juntos por el Perú.

POLARIZATION. Configuration of the debate on Twitter around the references to words related to racism, from January 7 to 10, 2020.

This is first analysis carried out by OjoPúblico as part of the Digital Democracy Room project, a regional initiative promoted by Fundação Getulio Vargas seeking to examine the political scenario through the public debate on the social networks. The methodology was used in Brazil to monitor the 2018 electoral campaign, in which the current president Jair Bolsonaro was elected, and is currently being applied in the analysis of the political debate in the media in Argentina and Colombia.

Sanctioned excess
The impact caused by Bryce’s gesture was followed by an equally controversial episode, also generated by the Solidaridad Nacional: the transmission, from the party’s official account, of a video connecting left-wing politicians, candidates of other parties, and even the president of the Republic, Martín Vizcarra, with leaders of the terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (MRTA). According to the movements of the public analyzed for this report, this content generated 25,702 interactions, especially in the period from December 16 to 20, and became notorious on the networks, rising above other political groups that show better results in the pools.

The peak of this discussions happened on December 20, when the party’s secretary, Rafael López Aliaga, justified and defended the content of the video in an interview. Three days later, the JNE issued a resolution demanding the removal of the video, as it was considered “prohibited campaigning” because it included a reference that was not allowed to the candidate Gino Costa of the Partido Morado. The court ordered the removal of the video from three Twitter accounts: the official account of Solidaridad Nacional and the accounts of the candidates Javier Pacheco and Carol Villavicencio. The first two accounts complied with the order, but the third did not.

Due to this noncompliance, the Special Electoral Court Lima Centro 1 issued a fine of S/344,000 (80 Fiscal Units) to the party, which was calculated according to four criteria: the geographical reach of the transmission; the reach of the vehicles through which the transmission was made; the amount, volume, duration or permanence of the electoral campaigning; and how close the transmission was to the date of the electoral event.

According to the resolution, “the conduct was offensive in several ways in terms of spread on the social networks, considering that, in the era of Globalization, the Internet constitutes an instrument for information without borders, which can be used effectively to damage other candidates with harmful campaigning”. In this case, the spread was produced by the “interaction of different social platforms on the networks, spreading the news not only through their followers, but also all over the cyberspace through the action of the internet users who want to share it with their contacts”.

An analysis with the Trendsmap tool confirmed that one of the accounts considered by the JNE, corresponding to the candidate Javier Pacheco, published the most content with mentions to the Solidaridad Nacional or to the hashtags used by the party.

In the period analyzed, these issues – together with controversies about gender or accusations of “Chavism” or “communism” against other political rivals – generated 170,628 interactions related to the Solidaridad Nacional.

MESSAGES. Words, hashtags and phrases that became a trend in the last three months of the electoral campaign.

The content of the confrontations was not exclusive to the yellow party. “We found many cases”, said Violeta Bermúdez, vice-president of the Court of Honor that monitors the compliance with the ethical pact of the National Electoral Court. Bermúdez said that the court found other political groups who are posting messages and “above all, using videos not to present proposals, but to make complaints against certain concepts and also against people”.

Another case was the video posted by the party União por el Perú, which depicted the execution of supposedly corrupt politicians. “What this type of content does is to incite hatred and violence, and it does not contribute with what should be the development of a democratic process, in which the context should be used to educate the public about the elections”, explained the Court of Honor member.

Apra and Fujimorism
The third political group appearing most frequently in the sample collected for this analysis is APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance), with 157,746 interactions. Their peak of movement on the network happened on December 19 and 20, when their official account made a controversial publication that compared the reality in Peru to the crisis in Venezuela. The video shows images of “chaos”, the supposed threat of “Chavism” and the supposed inability of the government to fight crime, insecurity, as well as anemia, poverty and death of newborn children. This generated 13,628 interactions on that day.

On the other hand, the behavior of the Fuerza Popular on Twitter demonstrates a change in the party’s strategy, characterized by temporarily moving away from Keiko Fujimori and by the rise of old figures of Fujimorism. Although the party’s official account has remained relatively discrete – at the time of writing this report, they have published less than 10 tweets throughout the year -, the strength of their campaign lies in the activities of candidates such as Martha Chávez, head of the party’s list in Lima, who made 477 tweets with up to 23 publications per day.

The most retweeted messages of the Fujimorist candidate contained criticism of the government and of the special team of the Prosecution Office investigating the Lava Jato case.

It is worth noting that the major peaks of references to the party’s leader, Keiko Fujimori, were note related to the campaign, but to her release from prison (published on November 25, with 8,731 interactions) and to the disclosure of the economic contribution made by the entrepreneur Dionísio Romero in the context of the fiscal investigation of the Lava Jato case (with more than 18,350 interactions between November 18 and 19). Apart from that, the campaign was concentrated on Fujimorism in general, focusing on associating candidates such as Chávez with the results of the administration of former president Alberto Fujimori, who was heard coordinating with other candidates from the prison in an audio on December 20. On that day, the former president was the topic of 10 thousand interactions on Twitter.

The analysis with the Brandwatch tool shows that, in the period analyzed, 231,783 interactions were registered regarding the orange party or messages that alluded to Fujimorism.

#Elecciones2020: The users with the most interactions
(November 18, 2019 to January 10, 2020)

 

The most discussed topics
Based on the collection of tweets associated with the keywords about corruption, security, poverty, health, education, economy, violence against women, infrastructure, and others, we observed that the most discussed topics on Twitter during the last two months of the current electoral period were ‘corruption’ (84,514 interactions), ‘education’ (42,885 interactions) and ‘gender’ (33,969 interactions).

Regarding ‘corruption’, two milestones were produced in the network discussion: January 12, 2020 (3,114 interactions), days before the Constitutional Court debate that determined the legality of the dissolution of Congress, and November 28, 2019 (2,548 interactions) in the context of the speech made by president Martín Vizcarra at the Annual Executive Conference (CADE), which focused on the fight against corruption. Most of the controversial messages about corruption were accusations of several political parties and candidates for corruption or corruption endorsement.

Regarding the debate about “education”, the highest number of interactions (5,296) was observed on January 9, of which the most relevant messages consisted of criticism of the Partido Morado due to their support of the gender approach, as well as issues about the University Law and the role of the National Superintendence of University Higher Education (Sunedu).

The ‘gender’ topic, one of the most controversial, was discussed most intensively on December 30 (4,233 retweets), after the congressional candidate for Solidaridad Nacional Rosa Bartra claimed that the government’s gender approach in schools was teaching girls to masturbate.

The discussion was preceded by the events of December 23 (2,651 interactions), when the feminicide of Jéssica Tejeda became known – a case that demonstrated the omission of help by the police regarding victims of gender violence.

NETWORKS. Configuration of the debate on Twitter around words feminicide and violence against women, from December 23 to 30, 2019.

“There is a very clear and sharp strategy in which what they are doing is getting attention”, said political analyst José Alejandro Godoy in a consultation for this report. In the case of Solidaridad Nacional, their campaign seeks to give a new meaning to their brand, which was strongly linked with the former mayor and party founder Luis Castañeda Lossio. “Now, the brand is more like ‘a popular right wing’”, says Godoy, based on topics such as the position of conservative groups against the gender approach or the fight against the supposed communist alternative represented by other candidates.

On the other hand, in the case of the Fuerza Popular, there was a more cautious strategy. “It has to do with the fact that Alberto Fujimori is managing the campaign and not his daughter,” says the analyst, who agreed that some examples of this strategy were the two videos recently published by the official account of Fuerza Popular, which revolve around the figures of Alberto Fujimori, with Martha Chávez at his side.

Regarding Apra, Godoy commented that the party has been producing candidates that have a strong negative vote, like Mijael Garrido Lecca. “[He] must have been one of the most investigated candidates on social media in general. This also brings visibility, ”he explained.

Data analysis: Juan Acostupa

#Elecciones2020: The main trends
(November 18, 2019 to January 10, 2020)

 

* The Digital Democracy Room is a project of FGV DAPP in Brazil in partnership with Chequeado, Linterna Verde and Ojo Público. It’s goal is to monitor and analyze the digital conversations regarding the electoral context.

The analysis is available the website of Ojo Público here.