Inside the Hegemony’s Alternative Twitter-verse

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Spreading the word, hegemony-style!

Have you ever noticed how many pro-government Trending Topics are all over the Venezuelan Twittersphere? Ever wonder how the central government really does that?

The folks at NGO IPYS Venezuela recently released two reports that spell out how the hegemony uses the zillions of Twitter accounts belonging to State officials and institutions to both spread its propaganda and attack opponents.

The first one, titled “Army Caliber 2.0” (El ejército calibre 2.0) analyzed how the hegemony promoted five Twitter hashtags last May, by using at least 65 accounts of State entities, including Ministries, companies and of course, media outlets. These hashtag pushes were coordinated (Tuitazos) and the government boasts of them as a revolutionary success.

What’s the point? Iria Puyosa, UCV professor and specialist in social networks explains:

The purpose of generating trending topics pushed by the SIBCI (The Venezuelan State’s Media System) is to set out a media agenda, guiding outlets to follow pseudo-news which otherwise wouldn’t have any impact on public opinion…”

The second report called “Official Offenses in 140 characters” (Agravios Officiales in 140 caracteres), reviewed the personal accounts of important State officials during 29 months (January 1st, 2013 – May 30th, 2015) and found out that 699 targeted attacks against the press were made by 16 government figures during that period of time.

And it even has a M. Night Shyamalan-styled twist: The greatest offender of all is CONATEL’s Director-General William Castillo (known in the Twitter-sphere as planwac). The same guy in charge of supervising the Internet in Venezuela and who recently asked for new legal reforms to regulate “criminal phenomenons” in the social networks.

Castillo wrote at least 439 messages accusing non-hegemony media of causing “paranoia”, “anxiety” or being engaged in a “media war”. Far behind in second place is Castillo’s former boss and current Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez with 59 messages. Next in the ranking are VP Jorge Arreaza (24), Nicolas Maduro himself (23) and Carabobo State Governor Francisco Ameliach (20).

In case you’re wondering, Diosdado Cabello came ninth with only 11 messages. He prefers to use state TV.

We know that the communicational hegemony strongly believes in what can be described as an “alternative Twitter-verse”. And we also know that they’re using all the repressive tools at its disposal to enforce it.

Now, we have a metric for this.

1 COMMENT

  1. Unlike other forms of media, the Internet, and the Social media, both Twitter and FB, cannot be totally controlled by Kleptozuela’s dictatorship. Fortunately, it’s a loosing battle their are trying to fight against new technologies, blocking the sun with a finger won’t work.

    The SIBCI, Conatel and other Regime Thugs can police the Internet in general, and even investigate who is reading what, track their IP addresses, etc. They can threaten and intimidate users, especially the majority of under-educated ignorant ones, but they can’t really crack down unless people write or support anti-chavismo stuff. They’ll keep building their “Tasco” list, but people will learn how to hide and surf in the Net.

    They will be afraid, but it’s the MUD’s job and our job to teach less computer savvy folks that as long as they don’t write certain things, they can read anything they want and stay informed. The internet, combined with economic misery, is what will finally kill dictatorships like Iran or Cuba or Cubazuela.

  2. Im curious to know which are those 5 distracting trends which hegemon has been trying to broadcast to get peoples mind away from what hurts the regime ?? It might make it easy to recognize when some news is really an induced ‘distraction’

  3. #1 elecciones, key central messages el socialismo es bueno, lo demas es malo, then topic du jour like Esequibo y Colombia border disputes, gusanera de miami/ la derecha apatrida/ la guerra economica/ El imperio del mal (USA!)…. its a short list of scapegoats, The list evolves, both for pro and con topics, but the essencial distraction is the same.

    The problem is that the oposition fails time after time to keep on mesage with waht IMO should be their talking points:

    Loss of sovereignty
    systematic destruction of productive apparatus, private industry and jobs
    Saqueo intitucional y de los jerarcas y corruptos en el coroto
    Rule of law and order, or lack thereof
    Perdida del futuro, emigracion de jovenes y de la clase media.
    etc…

    No, they are the first one talking elections and talking pajaritos prenados.

  4. great reporting! Kudos to you. You take the trouble to sort out the mess that is day-to-day news and present them in a coherent manner, so that we can understand them. Thanks for all your hard work!!

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