The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a local watchdog, presented on September 30 its second interim report on pre-election social media monitoring, analyzing 1,219 Facebook posts during August 23 – September 12.
ISFED said it identified 318 official Facebook pages of the 32 political parties participating in the local elections, of which the largest amount belonged to the United National Movement, followed by ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia.
As for mayoral candidates across Georgia, ISFED reported that there were 228 functioning pages, of which the most active was the page of For People party’s Tbilisi mayoral hopeful Anna Dolidze, followed by Georgian Dream’s Kakha Kaladze, United National Movement’s Nika Melia, and Lelo’s Ana Bibilashvili.
The watchdog reported that 19 anonymous Facebook pages published 701 posts against the GD, including five non-declared sponsored posts. Meanwhile, according to ISFED, 26 pages attempted to discredit the opposition parties with 393 posts. Posts targetted against the opposition had 4.4 times larger interaction than posts against the GD, the report said.
ISFED also noted that that 107 posts published by anonymous Facebook pages attempted to discredit media outlets, with 96 posts against government-critical outlets – Mtavari Arkhi TV, Formula TV, TV Pirveli – and 11 posts targetted against pro-government Imedi TV.
Apart from Facebook, the report said 13 political groups had accounts on TikTok, with their campaign on the video-sharing platform being mostly “positive.” Besides, ISFED said it observed 25 anonymous accounts that were involved in political campaigns.
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