On Monday, progressive-center President of Mexico Lopez Obrador (AMLO) explained soon Mexico will open an investigation about how Twitter and Facebook is allowing waves of unregulated bots entering the political rhetoric in Mexico.
Why the president is doing this?
These bots and paid troll farms have gone as far as coordinating riots during the corona virus pandemic that the World Health Organization said Mexico has done a great job in that it was the first county to take action since January. The president showed a graph of the stores already targeted.
In previous activities, bots have also coordinated verbal attacks at activists, politicians and their famies.
Tweets can be seen coming from the United States, Canada, UK, China, India and within Mexico.
“ What is happening on the social networks is a topic we’re going to talk about here soon at our press conference. Because we are going to be asking Facebook and Twitter for transparency and to informe who are their clients and who are buying from them. In other countries, they (twitter and Facebook) have to inform about this, but in Mexico that doesn’t happen. It turns out that Mexico is one of the countries where you can see more trafficking of bots than any other place.” said AMLO.
At the conference, The President showed a graph of 89 coordinated twitter campaigns asking citizens to riot stores in Mexico City and in several other states.
The attacks are not only verbal with racist attacks, but also they coordinated hitting targets and manage to bring counts they do not like down.
Last year, congressman of the district of Mexico City Noroña, was a victim of these targeted accounts. A tsunami of paid trolls and bots saturated his Twitter account until they managed to get his account temporary taken down by Twitter algorithm. The Congressman staged a protests outsider Twitter Mexico’s building, in Mexico City, with thousands of printed tweets showing insults and death threats against him “that twitter did not filtered or blocked.”
“Twitter is censoring the progressive activists in Mexico, and they are not respecting people’s voices. Twitter is allowing the creation of a fascist environment, of people who are asking to assassinate activist and progressive journalists, and Twitter doesn’t block those accounts.”
The congressman explained to journalists present at the protest outside Twitter Mexico offices that Twitter has stopped being a communication tool and an “space of expresión of diverseideas, instead twitter has now position itself as bias and with a fascists, racist and classist position.” said Noroña.
Just a few months ago, journalist from TV Azteca brought to the Presidents attention that the bots are functioning as a way to confront citizens with one another in terms of politics, similar to what happened in the U.S. elections of 2016.
An investigation led by professional analysts in Mexico discovered that Twitter is allowing bot farms that are own and run by former political ex-president Felipe Calderon. Calderon former secretary of security (Mexico’s Defense Secretary), was arrested last year by the FBI with drug trafficking charges for working with a drug cartel back in 2006.
Calderon is one of the current shareholders of Twitter Mexico. The data discovery was even discussed at one of President Lopez Obrador’s press conference.
Twitter Mexico explained in a tweet on Tuesday, that they are trying their best and bots are prohibited in their system. Reporter and economist Nacho Rodriguez from the news media outlet El Chapusero laughed at Twitter Mexico’s statement calling it a joke because “Twitter hasn’t done absolutely anything to stop the tsunami of bots” that dominates Mexico’s political discourse on Twitter.
A day after, twitter released another statement blaming the political attacks on bot farms while admiring the existence of atomization allowed in their system. President AMLO highlighted Twitter’s admission, and while pointing with his hand at the statement shown on a large screen at his press conference. Text reads:
“This is the most important part of the statement because is the mea culpa admission from twitter. [The President pointed out the line that reads] ‘’actors that perform this type of automation,’ so Twitter admits that there are bots.” AMLO said.
He also went on to say “We are talking about an authorized robotic mechanism that twitter admits in their statement.
We will soon present a graph with the numbers of twitter accounts calling to riot business in Mexico through the Twitter platform.
“The majority of people in our country are very decent to respond with looting. So far these campaigns on Twitter have had no effect despite the twitter campaigns.
The presidents staff was able to present a graph showing where the Twitter bot and troll farm attacks where being employed showing a total of 89 campaigns asking citizens to riot stores in Mexico City (14 twitter campaigns), and the states of Nuevo Leon (7 campaigns), State of Mexico(16 campaigns), Veracruz (4 campaigns), and Baja California (4 campaigns). A small number of those campaigns where effective, but “so far it hasn’t worked.” said AMLO.
In the graph the targeted stores are mexicans stores and not American. 7Eleven or Walmat did not show on the graph.
Facebook so far hasn’t made any comments or released any statements.
In addition, AMLO went on to say, “The other question is: a politician who is a public entity managing a budget that belongs to tax payers, goes on and allocates those resources to misinformed instead to guarantee the right to information. The budget they receive is used instead ito falsify information and slander.
Twitter in the United States Twitter reports how much political parties and candidates spend on their campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, why this cannot be the same in Mexico?”
Why politicians do not know here in Mexico who buys advertising on Twitter and Facebook? Where does the money come from? Why in Mexico we don’t have the right to know as in the U.S.? In our government everything has to be reported; public life has to be more public, and more transparent. That is the golden rule in a democracy.
The president ended saying, “and of course we are going to go to dig deep into this matter, and we are going to analyze the behavior of social media companies in Mexico. This is not censorship neither a capricious request.
“We are going to see if social networks outlets can propose mechanism that does not mean censorship, but ensuring that corruption is not allowed, that violence is not allowed. And everything that does not help to have a better society is a good topic to discuss, and we will see how it works out.”