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Spanish authorities concerned by disinformation before elections, EU presidency

The National Police and the National Security Department are investigating a surge of online campaigns aimed at undermining the credibility of the upcoming Spanish regional elections, fearing it may intensify before the Spanish EU Council presidency and general elections in November.

The campaign aims to damage public trust in the election and undermine the results’ credibility by flooding social media with fake news and manipulated information, El Periodico reports.

Investigating it as a coordinated, organised effort, authorities have identified two main tactical narratives to reach the campaign’s objectives. The first is to accuse the government of attempting to interfere in the election results by enlarging the electoral census and allowing immigrants and citizens living abroad to vote. The second is to accuse Indra, the technology and defence company in charge of scrutinising the voting, of tampering with the results.

Even though the campaign started at the beginning of April, it is reaching its peak now, and sources close to the investigation fear that it could be the first phase of successive disinformation campaigns targeting the national elections scheduled for December and the Spanish presidency of the EU Council.

The messages are published by fake social media accounts linked to the extreme right, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, and climate change deniers. Police authorities hint that the campaign has a local origin within Spain but do not discard the possibility of foreign interference.

Even though these campaigns have a limited reach, they can have a significant impact if the conventional press picks up the messages and theories, as has happened with the disinformation campaign’s narrative over the expansion of the electoral census, according to El Periodico.

(Max Griera

Read more with EURACTIV


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