Fighting disinformation in the 2019 Argentine elections


I am sharing this article by the Transparencia Electoral organization, about some “fake news” published in Argentina a few months before elections.

In Brazil, in the 2018 elections, several agencies waged a crusade to disprove false news, usually shared at a high rate. Based on what is found in the media and especially in social networks, it’s obvious that Argentina has this same challenge ahead.

This year’s elections in Argentina have added certain changes as compared to the way they had been customarily carried out. One of them has to do with data transmission (precinct reports) from polling stations in schools or elsewhere.

‘Telegrams’ will no longer be carried by Correo Argentino workers to the digitization and transmission centers, as in previous elections. This year, each one of the schools will become a digitization and data transmission center, to send results directly from the voting stations in some 15,000 schools. In this way, as indicated by Adrián Pérez, the Secretary of Political and Institutional Affairs, “there will be a faster tally, officials will be present at transmission time, and the data flow will be more homogeneous.”

This news has been used by some actors to deliberately fabricate disinformation, even forecasting a purported fraud taking advantage of the new transmission method. In this sense, we have selected some of the (dis)information pieces that have been most viral, with the purpose of dismantling them:

Based on information from the Transparencia Electoral organization.

FAKE

“The software that will be used during the transmission process is called Election 360”

TRUTH

The name of the software is Módulo de Transmisión (Transmission Module), and it will enable Correo Argentino agents to scan and transmit directly from the voting stations in schools, in the presence of the board president and appointed officials.


FAKE

The transmission of the telegram to the computer center incorporates intelligent handwriting recognition software, which edits the information of the telegram using manuscript characters identical to those of the board president”

TRUTH

The scanning and transmission software is not designed to edit or  change any information in telegrams. The function of the software is only to capture and transmit data.


FAKE

“Telegrams are going to be eliminated”

TRUTH

Telegrams will NOT be done away with. The direct transmission from voting centers does not at all change the handling of the precinct reports, ballot boxes, additional documentation nor final tallies, which are of legal value; and is in charge of the Justicia Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Justice).

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