Disinfo Update 12/11/2019

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Voter Suppression in the Spanish General Election

In light of Sunday’s election, recent investigations conducted by El País and eldiario.es (articles in Spanish) revealed voter suppression campaigns that had been active before the official start of the campaign on 1st November. We summarised their findings, and here are the key takeaways:

  • The campaigns spread their messages by targeting citizens with advertisements on fake Facebook pages and by placing posters on the streets of left-leaning cities.
  • Some advertisements were critical of socialist party PSOE, while others of left-wing Unidas Podemos, centre-right Ciudadanos, or the far-right VOX party. 
  • Other advertisements encouraged abstention from voting by the use of fake appeals from Ciudadanos, PSOE, Unidas Podemos, and Más País.  
  • The investigations alluded to the possibility that associates of right-wing Popular Party may have been responsible for the campaigns.

Homegrown Disinformation

Despite the focus on the risk of foreign interference in the British general election, the UK government has blocked the release of an investigation into Russian interference in British politics — a move regarded as “inexplicable and shameful” by Hilary Clinton. It’s been two weeks since announcement of the election and there’s already a batch of mis— and disinformation circulating both on— and offline:

In the news

Good reads

  • In Trump’s Twitter Feed: Conspiracy-Mongers, Racists and Spies: The New York Times has examined President Trump’s interactions with Twitter since he took office, reviewing over 11,000 tweets and the hundreds of accounts he has retweeted, exposing how the president “spends significant time mingling with extremists, impostors and spies”.
  • There’s a new Center for International Media study that has mapped online disinformation in Pakistan’s 2018 general election. The report examines different forms of disinformation that circulated online in the lead up to the 2018 elections, as well as its impact on the country’s political discourse.

Studies

Jobs