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Disinformation in Social Networks in the Parliamentary Election Campaign 2021


In recent years, it has become clear that there is a global problem with social networks, as they do not have well-developed policies regarding the content distributed in them. Such a phenomenon is even more evident in the region of Southeast Europe. The end of the election campaign in Bulgaria has clearly shown that Facebook is becoming a key tool for political influence.

As part of an online press conference on April 2, 2021, the Center for the Study of Democracy presented to Bulgarian journalists and media its latest study on Disinformation Narratives in the 2021 Parliamentary Elections. The results of the analysis were summarized by Martin Vladimirov, Director of the Energy and Climate Program of the Center, who specified that the study addresses three types of Facebook communities: political parties and leaders; pro-Russian and / or anti-liberal media, pages and groups; major media outlets, including the public radio and television. The four key disinformation narratives disseminated in Bulgaria during the election campaign were also pointed out:

  • conspiracies related to COVID-19;
  • support for major Russian energy projects;
  • opposition to the European Green Deal;
  • display of "EU hypocrisy"

It turns out that parties are uncritically, and often purposefully, successfully disseminating disinformation online, which reinforces the lack of understanding of the essence of democratic governance by the part of society, vulnerable to these messages. The role of civil society in cooperation with state institutions is key to developing a model for monitoring and counter-disinformation in the creation of media content for political purposes. It is also necessary to establish a channel for communication with social media in order for it to be able to check and block publications and content that provoke division in society.


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