Wednesday 12/8/21
SOCIAL MEDIA

Meta shuts 'troll farm' run by Nicaragua government ahead of election

More than 30 politicians, business people, journalists and activists have been arrested since May, including seven presidential candidates

FILED - "Daniel 2021," reads next to a picture of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a public transportation bus. Five candidates for the presidential candidacy from opposition alliances were arrested within a few weeks. Photo: -/dpa.
'Daniel 2021,' reads next to a picture of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a public transportation bus. Photo: dpa.

Facebook's parent company Meta on Monday said it shut down a "troll farm" run by the Nicaraguan government, just days before presidential elections are set to be held in the Central American country.

Meta said the network - comprising 937 Facebook accounts, 140 pages, 24 groups and 363 Instagram accounts - was run by the government of Nicaragua and the ruling Sandinista party.

"This was one of the most cross-government troll operations we've disrupted to date, with multiple state entities participating in this activity at once," a report by the company said.

According to the findings, the cross-platform campaign was primarily operated by employees of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and the Post (TELCOR), while other "smaller clusters of fake accounts" were run from other government institutions including the Supreme Court.

The campaign, which according to Meta was also ran on Tiktok, Twitter and YouTube among others, consisted in "positive content about the government and negative commentary about the opposition, using hundreds of fake accounts to promote these posts."

Presidential election

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term in the 7 November election.

He has been in office since 2007. The political opposition accuses the Ortega government of attempting to silence all potential rivals and critics.

More than 30 politicians, business people, journalists and activists have been arrested since May, including seven presidential candidates.

The opposition has described the election as a farce.

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