Similar to What Happened in Brazil, Milei Supporters Attempt to Spread a False Theory of Election Fraud

Like Trump and Bolsonaro supporters, networks linked to the Argentine ultra-liberal use narrative to justify election defeat

São Paulo

In the style of American Donald Trump and Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro supporters, Javier Milei's backers have also tried to link their lower-than-expected performance in the elections to an alleged electoral fraud. The volume of messages on X (formerly Twitter) and Telegram supporting this theory, even without any solid evidence, concentrated mainly on the election day (22nd) and the following Monday (23rd).

A person wears a chainsaw mask as supporters of Argentina's presidential candidate Javier Milei gather outside his campaign headquarter during Argentina's presidential election, in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 22, 2023. REUTERS/Cristina Sille - REUTERS

A study conducted by the Political Debate Monitor in the Digital Media, from USP, in ten pro-Milei Telegram groups, identified 710 posts endorsing the hypothesis - half of all content of this nature circulated from January 1, 2023, to the day after the election.

The discourse on fraud in these two days is greater than that of the previous 295 days. On X, 53.7% of the 28,617 posts extracted with the fraudulent election narrative were shared between the closing of the polls and 11:59 PM on the same day, "demonstrating swift mobilization and engagement with the election challenge theory," says the study. Much of the posts suggest that there was a massive orchestration to hinder voting for Milei.

An identical message, replicated multiple times by different profiles, claims that there were no ballots with the option for the ultra-liberal candidate available to voters. The pattern indicates the use of bots, automated accounts that emulate real people behind them.

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