22 Oct

#DebateEnRedes: 94% of the tweets about the second presidential debate were for or against “Alberto”, and 48% were for or against “Macri”

Por Ariel Riera and Celeste Gómez Wagner

Updated 19 de December, 2019 at 6:26 pm

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

  • Data from Twitter shows that most of the publications included the name of the candidate for the Frente de Todos, both supporting and criticizing him.
  • The hashtag #macripresidente appears in 22.6% of the tweets evaluated, compared to 1.8% of the hashtag #albertopresidente.
  • None of the most active accounts belong to the candidates, although the top 5 ones include two national deputies of the coalition Juntos por el Cambio.

One week before the elections, the six presidential candidates participated of the second mandatory debate established by Law 27.337. The discussion focused on the following four topics: Security; Employment, Production and Infrastructure; Federalism, Institutional Quality and the Role of the State; and Social Development, the Environment and Housing. The audience score exceeded 30 points among the free-to-air and cable TV channels broadcasting the event live, and was followed by discussions on the social networks. Here is an analysis of the conversations on Twitter.

Messages went back and forth since the start of the debate at 9 p.m., increasing until their peak around 10:25 to 10:30 p.m., with more than 4,600 tweets about the debate. In that moment, Mauricio Macri’s official account (@mauriciomacri) repeated what he said in the debate: “Kirchnerism and Alberto Fernández are the same thing”. This tweet was among the most shared messages. In turn, Fernández replied with “thank God” he is nothing like the current president. The intensity of the conversations on Twitter decreased after that.

Number of tweets about the second presidential debate of 2019

The data refers to the activity on Twitter between 9 p.m. and midnight on Sunday, October 20, 2019. The numbers show the amount of Tweets in Argentina every 5 minutes.

Source: Elaborated by Chequeado from a keyword search and from the accounts of the presidential candidates.

The data comes from publications including the keywords and hashtags about the candidates and the debate in the three hours following the start of the discussion, following the methodology developed by the Department of Public Policy Analysis of Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP).

In total, there were 86,900 publications about the theme; most of them (88%) were retweets. The most shared publication was made by @n0dath, who created the account in 2017, and reached 13.2 thousand shares and 74.8 thousand likes, despite the fact that its author only had 199 followers. This message followed the criticism made by the candidate for the  Unite por la Libertad y Dignidad (Unite for Freedom and Fignity), José Luis Espert, about the supposed similarity between the just candidates with the most votes in the primary elections in Augusto, and added, jokingly, that “those who fight love each other”. In addition, the top 5 retweets included three publications by Macri’s official account on drugs, the INDEC and Kirchnerism.

Tweet: macri: you are a son of a bitch, alberto

alberto: i’ll beat you up

espert: those who fight love each other

Regarding the words used the most in the tweets, 94% of the publications about the debate contained “Alberto”, for both support and criticism. Proof of this is that the three most shared tweets by @mauriciomacri include the name of the candidate for the Frente de Todos. In addition, 48% of the messages mention “Macri”; 41% mention “Fernández”; 27% mention “Cristina”; and 16% mention the “debate” itself. The sum exceeds 100 per cent because the results are not exclusive and the same tweet can have multiple keywords.

The hashtags (tags identified with the # symbol which are used to group messages) used the most to refer to the discussion were the official and generic ones, #debatear2019, #debatepresidencial2019, and similar ones. However, the second place was #macripresidente, which appears in 22.6% of the universe analyzed, while the hashtag #albertopresidente came in seventh place, with 1.8%.

Lastly, the five most active accounts generating the highest level of interaction during the debate were: @n0dath; the national deputies of Juntos por el Cambio, José Cano (@JCanoOK) and Mario Raúl Negri (@marioraulnegri); @Lautiroman1995, a user who defines himself as a journalist and has 289.2 thousand followers; and the media vehicle C5N. The official accounts of the candidates do not appear in the ranking, although Alberto Fernández’s account (@alferdez) had the most commented tweets.

* 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 Chequeado here.