On October 1, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a local watchdog, presented its first interim report on pre-election social media monitoring.
The report highlighted that increased activity of political parties and candidates is evident on Facebook during the pre-election period. Some of the parties use other social media platforms such as Instagram, Telegram, Viber and TikTok as well.
Throughout the research period, from June 1 to August 31, ISFED analyzed 14,290 public posts, on 452 Facebook pages of political parties, majoritarian candidates, political leaders and on 127 official pages of local self-governing bodies.
ISFED identified 16 pages supporting the opposition; 37 pages discrediting the opposition; 11 pages supporting the government; 32 pages openly discrediting the ruling party; 10 fake news pages supporting the government; 2 fake supporting pages targeted against opposition.
According to the report, official pages of government institutions indirectly conduct “propagandist activities” in favor of the ruling party. For instance, Municipalities have used the Georgian Dream’s advertising hashtag #გაიგერაკეთდება (Know What is Being Done) in 133 posts, while the sponsored posts were funded by the GD.
Moreover, ISFED disclosed that the pages functioning against the opposition show signs of organization and coordination, while these signs are less visible with the pages operating against the government.
The watchdog notes that apart from the Facebook pages, Facebook groups are also actively used for “propagandist purposes.” The report underlined that openly discrediting Facebook groups are mainly directed against two parties – the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition United National Movement. ISFED also disclosed 58 public Facebook groups, with 391,491 members overall, supporting UNM, while GD comes second with 33 affiliated groups counting 369,172 members.
- ISFED Releases Fourth Interim Report on Pre-Election Environment
- ISFED Reports on Facebook Political Ad Spending in Georgia