Nisos Investigation Identifies Inauthentic Election Disinformation Campaign in Honduras

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Blog

Nisos researchers identified a coordinated, inauthentic network of approximately 317 Twitter accounts that aim to influence Honduran domestic audiences and their political leanings in their upcoming general election. 

The Honduran presidential election is currently scheduled for 28 November 2021. The network is being used to conduct a negative campaign against Xiomara Castro and Yani Rosenthal, two presidential candidates from the Liberty and Refoundation Party and the Liberal Party of Honduras, respectively.

Rather than focusing on encouraging voters to support the National Party of Honduras candidate, Nasry Asfura, the primary objective of the campaign is to discourage and deter Hondurans from voting for Castro or Rosenthal, or to not vote at all. 

The attacks against Xiomara Castro and Yani Rosenthal center around conspiracy theories regarding the candidates forming a potential political alliance. The network is also pushing content designed to negatively impact the candidates’ political images, including accusations of corruption and money laundering. 

The campaign primarily began on 6 October and continued until 8 October 2021, when the majority of accounts stopped posting content. A small subset of accounts subsequently made concerted posts on 14 October 2021 that further denounced or decried any potential political alliance between Castro and Rosenthal. 

This coincided with an announcement by former presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla of the Savior Party of Honduras (Partido Salvador de Honduras), who endorsed Xiomara Castro for President of Honduras the day before on 13 October 2021. These posts contained links to news articles by La Tribuna Honduras, one of which references that “on Twitter, many voters are beginning to denounce a pact” between Castro and Rosenthal. 

Nasry Asfura of the National Party of Honduras is the only candidate who stands to gain from negative campaigning against both Xiomara Castro and Yani Rosenthal. The National Party of Honduras is the incumbent political party, and Juan Orlando Hernandez, the sitting president, was the winner of a hotly disputed election against Salvador Nasralla in 2017. 

We note that the inauthentic network made little to no mention of Nasry Asfura or of Juan Orlando Hernandez, and criticism of the National Party of Honduras was virtually nonexistent.