When social networks burst into our lives more than a decade ago, they promised to be a breeding ground for freedom of expression in every country in the world, even those with the most authoritarian regimes. However, over time, we have seen how they have been inundated with false news and 'trolls' whose only interest is to manipulate public opinion from anonymity. Venezuela is no exception.
Harmful uses of social networksWithouta doubt, Twitter is the preferred social network of those who undertake destabilization campaigns against public authorities based on 'fake news' or false news. The immediacy of their messages, their high capacity of response and diffusion, and the difficulty to contrast their veracity within the medium itself are some of the reasons that explain this, but Twitter is not the only one that has been shaken by this phenomenon.
Facebook is another one of the most affected. However, the medium created by Mark Zuckerberg is trying to take action. For example, it has begun to take steps to eliminate deepfakes and has not hesitated to delete millions of accounts around the world. This has been especially noticeable during the most serious phases of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe.
Countless false accounts begin to launch false news on a particular subject with the aim of diverting attention, focusing it on a particular subject or entity and confusing public opinion. No matter how much effort is made to disprove them. They always remain strong in a specific number of people.
Not only 'fake news'Despite this, in Venezuela as well as in the rest of the countries of the world, not only those who want to destabilize governments use the tool of 'fake news'. Unfortunately, it is also the public authorities that use them to spread their political propaganda and to dismantle networks of opponents.
The difference between Venezuela and many other countries in the world is the way this strategy is carried out. For example, if we take a look at the United States, where Donald Trump and his government team have become true specialists in this type of strategy, we see how the main state entities occupy a front position in disinformation campaigns. These are very sophisticated and perfectly coordinated, but in Venezuela there is not so much improvement. The campaigns are carried out in a much more anarchic way, which has caused serious damage to the country's own traditional media and the launching of strategies that, in many cases, are contradictory.
This is how it has been for more than 10 years, although during the last few months the situation has become much more accentuated. In short, social networks have not become the space for free and pure opinion that we all expected. But, fortunately, there are many people working against 'fake news'. We must all do our bit.