Borderland Beat by DD Republished from Telesur
|An example of the #YaMeCanse campaign by Mexican actors and artists, criticizing government poor performance. (Photo: Yamecanse.mx)|
Internet users have switched to #YaMeCanse2 after the #YaMeCanse hashtag, used since protests agaist government corruption and forced disappearences errupted, has disappeared. The Mexican government uses automated online softwards to detect criticism.
Over the past month top-trending hashtag #YaMeCanse has been used in all anti-government protests, but its sudden disappearence from the web, possibly due to government “bots” has seen the emergence of #YaMeCanse2.
The hashtag was trending for 26 days until, it suddenly disappeared, despite the fact it is still being widely used. The fall was so unexpected — it had stayed in first place for weeks, and suddenly it was gone — that it immediately raised some suspicions as to whether it had been purposefully removed.
Internet forums and technology sites drew attention to what are known as “peñabots,” an army of false Twitter and Facebook accounts, created specifically to confront criticism toward President Enrique Peña Nieto and his government The mechanism, allegedly funded by the ruling Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), is being used to battle social network protests, as well as create a false impression of the president’s popularity.
Peña Nieto is currently the least popular president in Mexican history, with a 39 percent approval rating, according to a poll in the Reforma newspaper.
After 26 days of being unable to counter the widespread use of #YaMeCanse hashtag (“I’m tired of corruption”, “I’m tired of impunity”, “I’m tired of lies” being some of the most common messages), the bots, short for robots, and those who manage them, were forced to implement a new strategy.
Many who attempt to supress hashtags simply create a new one and attempt to make it more popular than the other. But in the case of the hugely popular #YaMecanse, it has been modified to pass as spam, by repeating it nonsensically.
Twitter analysis tools detected the behavior of the hashtag and assessed the change was not part of the conversation among users, but some artificially-manipulated spam, an unrequested malignant content.
The social media site then erased it from its lists of trending hashtags, to the dismay of the more than four million users making use of the phrase to express their criticism of the government.
Publicist Jesus Soto, researcher of what he calls “Techno authoritarianism,” described the phenomenon:
“There’s something very important being contested at social networks: a communication space, important because it can affect and transform politics … The political group in power in Mexico has no ethical conflict on using dishonest and deceitful resources to manipulate public perception.”
Unsurprisingly, the same disgruntled users that took the first hashtag to the top ten of social network communications on past weeks started using #YaMeCanse2, which quickly got to the first trending spot.
The hashtag was taken from the controversial comment, “I’ve had enough, I’m tired” by General Attorney Jesus Murillo Karam, when trying to avoid further questions from journalists about the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students.
Mexican Twitter users took the phrase and used it on social networks it to show their disapproval of government’s handling of the crisis, and the rampant corruption and impunity of the political class