Thetrolls enter the electoral scene. These people who hide their identity inunofficial accounts to make theirs in social networks, especially Twitter, havethe ability to make an impact on public opinion, so they tend to be attractiveat election time. Now they open a new conflict gap between two politicalorganizations in the fight for the Mayor of Guayaquil.
TheDemocratic Center movement, which nominates Jimmy Jairala for said dignity,accuses the Christian Social Party, through the Municipality of Guayaquil, ofhiring a company that recruits these false accounts for a supposedly dirtycampaign against them. Social Christianity, also through a statement, rejectsand condemns “for false and reckless” accusations. And, instead, itreturns the accusation to its electoral contenders to make use of those same practiceswhen affirming in social networks that the Municipality hired said company,”which is an absolute lie”, says part of the communiqué.
José Rivera, consultant in Communication and Digital Marketing, states that the use of trolls in the pre-campaign and campaign period is not a new practice. Its main task in electoral time, summarizes the expert, is to turn into a certain theme for digital opinion to believe that it is important and also make believe that this or that candidate enjoys a support that is not real. “It’s to create a false image. In Ecuador, it is mainly done on Twitter, and we have 4 million accounts created and one million active accounts per month. It’s not that you have the 16 million Ecuadorians participating. Of that million of accounts a large portion are false, “explains Rivera.
The use of trolls took momentum during the government of former President Rafael Correa, so it is not only an electoral practice but also a political one. Moreover, the presidential adviser, Santiago Cuesta, speaks of the existence of 23 thousand trolls at the service of the correísmo to criticize the government work and its officials planting alleged false news on social networks.
Rivera believes that entering into the field of regulation of networks and false accounts is a complicated issue, beginning with the fact that there is no criminal classification that punishes the creation and use of false accounts in networks. That is why, from the transitory National Electoral Council, all that remains is to exhort the political organizations not to fall into these bad practices.
DianaAtamaint, vice president of the electoral body in transition, recognizes thatthe Code of Democracy does not determine prohibitions and faculties on theactions on social networks during the electoral period, but believes thatsomething can be done. “A campaign in which citizens pay attention tothese indicators that can determine what competition is like, and that in manycases is not very legal, is dishonest, is hidden in trolls and tries to harmthe electoral opponent”. (I)