Just two days before the elections, Chile again convulsed after the appeal of Sebastian Left, a youtuber Pinochetista, to the sympathizers of José Antonio Kast to sign up as proxies with the aim of cheating and denouncing all votes in favor of Boric. Sebastián led the demonstrations of the rejection the constituent process, including making videos with weapons threatening death to the protesters in favor of the I approve or saying in another that his solution would be to kill five million Chileans on the left. Finally, he has been finally sued by the Electoral Service of Chile (Servel).
The same day, Magdalena Moncada, Kast’s campaign manager, used a 2019 image to accuse Boric supporters who came the day before the campaign close of destroying the subway. And oddly enough, it has not been a novelty, since there has not been a day that a lie or manipulation has not been spread from the team, the environment, Kast himself or the thousands of false accounts that compulsively retweet them. hashtags generated around the digital attack of the day.
And in case the ghost of Pinochet was little present, on the day of the campaign closing his widow, Lucía Iriart, passed away at the age of 99. Much of the speech in Boric’s last campaign act was to remember the threat to democracy that Kast’s victory would pose: “When we unite we are much stronger. We unite to defeat the dictatorship, we unite to have a new one. Constitution and today we unite to defeat the heir to this Government and Pinochetism. “
He has also highlighted the hate and lies campaigns that they have suffered throughout the electoral process. Precisely, his last electoral strip started with a cartoon of a blond Pinocchio asking the citizens to “check the information received” with the hashtag #CareWithPinocchio.
If we analyze the elements of this campaign, we can find parallels with those that made possible the arrival of Pinochet to the Government of Chile and the attempts to keep him in the plebiscite. From the US funding of the military coup and the Chicago Boys to the current funding of media, foundations and political cadres from the Atlas Network, through Kast’s recent visit to Marco Rubio, which takes us back to the meetings between Kissinger and Pinochet .
The massive support of artists in this campaign for Boric is reminiscent of the one received at no in the plebiscite, as well as the strategy of fear through lies that we can find in the strip of Yes for Pinochet in 1988 or in declassified documents with “alarmist campaigns.” In the latter case, the main target was women, who were assured that the Soviets and Cubans would arrive to snatch their children if Allende won, while massively distributed posters showed children wearing a tattoo with hammer and sickle.
Spreading of fake news during the election campaign
Although the bombardment of fake news was daily, some of the most prominent were:
Boric Junkie: In the first debate, Kast invited Boric to take a drug test and show the medical history. Giving credence to a false report from a clinic that allegedly treated his addiction, and which was spread by thousands of accounts, the clinic reported that that report was false. Later, Boric resolved the matter in the debate in the second round with the negative results in the drug test, which he later published on the networks, making his viral tweet with 15,000 retweets, but the next day they started another campaign with more than 100,000 tweets. saying that the report shown in the debate was false, with which the clinic had to issue a statement saying it was true.
Electoral fraud: Dozens of YouTube channels related to Kast (such as Long live chile, The Vaquedano, Parallel 33, The sidewalk or the former minister of Pinochet Sergio Melnick in the program of AgriculturaTV) published news about an alleged electoral fraud without evidence that added more than 400,000 visits; and that later were replicated in the rest of the networks. More than 40,000 tweets were published on Twitter mentioning the alleged fraud, replicating the script of Trump, Jeanine Áñez or Keiko Fujimori. If we add to this a very tight result and the digital leader of the rejection Asking all Kast sympathizers to become proxies for cheating, the cocktail is well served.
Corrupted Izkia: In the second round, Izkia Siches, president of the Chilean Medical College (Colmed), was a catalyst for Boric’s campaign by being elected campaign manager. But that was counteracted by the appearance of innumerable false news that had its zenith with the publication of a false news that accused it of corruption within Colmed from the newspaper The bookcase, from the Fundación Prensa Libre of the Atlas Network. This was broadcast thousands of times by accounts such as Kast himself, Tere Marinovic, Sergio Melnick, Axel Kaiser … and which was accompanied by the hashtag #IzkiaCorrupta with more than 90,000 tweets, with the action of bots like @progreB, who posted more than 1,000 tweets, automating retweets every thirty seconds.
Terrorist financing: A classic that could not be missed. It only takes one type random that in a video it says that Boric’s campaign “receives money from Hamas and Hezbollah” and thousands of accounts that broadcast the video with #TerroristasxBoric, adding more than 80,000 tweets. Both in this campaign and in the previous one, Kast did not participate, but his entire network of bots Y trolstars (like Drez and NatyPatriota, who receive their retweets) and, as always, Sergio Melnick.
Image manipulation: The creation of false reports and images by a large number of false and real accounts has been a constant, but perhaps the most striking was the one uploaded by the deputy of Kast and a member of the Nueva Mente Foundation, Gonzalo de La Carrera, using a photo of Boric from 2016 in a flood to put it next to altercations. Another of the manipulators was Kast’s campaign manager, using in a tweet an image of the destroyed subway in 2019 posing as current.
Impact on candidate networks
Although the noise of Kast’s strategy was more successful in setting the agenda, it was Boric who grew the most in followers on all digital platforms, except TikTok and YouTube. This is relevant data from a qualitative point of view. The follower growth data between November 22 and December 17 (closing of the campaign) were as follows:
Instagram: Boric + 285K vs. Kast + 82K; Twitter: Boric + 85K vs. Kast + 50K.
Facebook: Boric + 31K vs. Kast + 17K; Youtube: Boric + 5K vs. Kast + 9K.
Regarding the level of interactions of his publications during the second round, we could say that Boric almost doubles Kast on Instagram, he equals it on Twitter, while Kast almost doubles Boric on Facebook and YouTube.
As for TikTok, the videos with the hashtag #KastPresidente had 131 million views versus 103 million for #BoricPresidente.
During the televised electoral debate of the second round, there was a hashtag used by more than 50,000 accounts that posted more than 500,000 tweets. The most retweeted account by far was Gabriel Boric’s, and 62% of the conversation was favorable to him. On the contrary, José Antonio Kast had less impact and only 34% of the content was favorable to him.
And surely this conversation was more organic and without much presence of bots, because simultaneously all the Kast real and fake account machinery tweeted during the debate on hashtag #TodoChileConKast, with more than 200,000 tweets and a high presence of bots, with more than 50 accounts that published more than 300 tweets with this hashtag and that, viewing the video captured live with the Pulsetuit tool, we can see how there are several accounts with more than 50 tweets in just two minutes and how the rate of retweets compared to original tweets is ten times higher than the number of tweets per minute of the most active accounts, and where the most benefited accounts as always are the accounts Drez, PatyPatriota, Equipo Kast and Kast himself.
Lastly, we analyzed the advertising on Facebook during the last thirty days. In this period, the spending of José Antonio Kast and the Republican Party totaled more than 248 million pesos, compared to 63 million for Gabriel Boric’s team. It is also striking when studying the morphology of the campaign that the type of advertising that is sponsored in the Kast environment are messages of fear towards the Boric candidate and not their own proposals. On the contrary, the contents of Boric’s advertising are focused on his program.
On the other hand, if we look at the pages that spend the most money on the last day of the campaign, all except Boric’s campaign in fear against him, instead of proactive:
CEA Foundation: Do not imitate Venezuela, listen to Leopoldo López; With Boric you will lose your investment.
Free and Diverse Education: The freedom to choose the education you want in your family is at stake.
Luciano Cruz: Antonieta tells us about the nightmare of the minimum wage in Venezuela.
El Descueve: #BoricExpropia.
El Baquedano: Boric ratifies expropriation of pensions.
Martín Arrau: Vote well, vote Kast.
We dare with Kast: That your funds are yours or that they are expropriated?
Andrés Molina: Today, thanks to socialism, poverty abounds in Venezuela.
Jorge Guzmán: Listen to this Venezuelan, let’s defend freedom and democracy.
Felipe Kast: Immigration to Chile, Venezuelans.
Foundation for Progress: Boric the chameleon and his cartwheels.
Ask a Venezuelan (page deleted): #NoEsLoMismoQuienGobierne.
It’s Key, Chile needs you: Let’s not fall on the same stone again, Allende won by 38K votes.
In short, a new chapter of Operation Condor 2.0 of which we will not know the end until the early hours of this Sunday, at the earliest, and in which any scenario is possible.