On October 26, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presented interim report of social media monitoring in the context of the 2018 presidential election.
ISFED is the first observer organization in Georgia to conduct methodic pre-election monitoring of social media for elections. The monitoring began on August 29. At this stage, in the context of the presidential election ISFED monitors only Facebook activity since it is especially popular among different social media platforms in Georgia.
The interim report of ISFED focuses on the following four areas:
1. Activity of official Facebook pages of presidential candidates, parties that nominated these candidates and official campaign pages, and their compliance with legislation;
2. Campaigning by local self-government civil servants on Facebook;
3. Monitoring of official Facebook pages of local self-government and Ajara A/R bodies.
4. Activity of Facebook pages set up primarily for discreditation purposes, their tactics and main messages.
The monitoring of 19 official pages of presidential candidates, political parties that have nominated/endorsed them and official campaign pages on Facebook, from August 29 to October 9, indicates that their activity entailed advertising election programs, criticizing competitors and publishing election promises. Xenophobic statements and hate speech was detected on Facebook pages of individual candidates (Shalva Natelashvili and Kakha Kukava).
Activity of anonymous Facebook pages operating for the primary purpose of discrediting specific candidates, politically active individuals and ongoing political or legal processes is especially striking. These pages have a well-formulated organized strategy focusing on use of propaganda methods to influence public opinion.
As the pre-election period began, activity and number of pages created to discredit candidates and parties that have nominated/endorsed them grew significantly. Most of their names contain negative and obscene phrases. In addition, posts that these pages publish contain obscene and cynical terms and hate speech. Vast majority of these posts are sponsored, which amounts to illegal contribution to election campaigning.
See the full report here: