Electoral campaigning on social media subject to disinformation in Tunisia

During the three elections that Tunisia witnessed from mid-September to mid-October 2019, misinformation was spread on social media platforms, the most effective communication channels for political parties and candidates to reach voters. To this aim, a substantial number of people started following political party and candidate-affiliated Facebook groups and pages. This also included unofficial Facebook pages without clear affiliation, which diffused disinformation and sponsored content praising certain parties and produced 38.5% of the political messages between 15 May – 15 July, according to a report on social media monitoring published by the Tunisian Association for the Integrity and Democracy of Elections (ATIDE) and Democracy Reporting International. The fake news which aimed at adversely influencing citizens, included presidential candidates withdrawing to support other candidates, political figures or celebrities supporting certain candidates, the arrest of some candidates, and the assault of a polling centre official by a candidate.