Leni Robredo and the truth behind trolls, bots, and cheating

Leni Robredo and the truth behind trolls, bots, and cheating

- in Opinion

I just saw another report, this time by ABSCBN, regarding the use of trolls and bots by certain politicians during and after the election campaign. But while the report was supposed to be about the practice in general, like the online rant of Rappler’s Maria Ressa, ABSCBN also seemed to narrow its focus on the team of President Rodrigo Duterte.

It is of course no secret that Duterte had the most passionate online supporters of any of the presidential candidates, including many who vigorously defended him from what they perceived to be biased reporting from the media. ABSCBN, together with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Rappler, were repeatedly accused as being against Duterte in their coverage.

As the campaign grew more intense, the quality of the exchanges between Duterte’s online supporters, the supporters of other candidates, and the media also evolved. And here is where the myth of Duterte’s fake supporters first started to take wing and fly.

But based on Mindavote’s own observation, the idea that Duterte had an army of paid “online warriors” to defend him and attack his opponents came about simply because the other campaign teams needed a reason to explain his phenomenal rise on social media. And since this is what they themselves were doing, they just assumed that it was also the same for Duterte.

In order to disprove these allegations, we are again publishing screenshots showing some of the IP addresses from an online poll for President and Vice President that we did during the campaign. As you can see from the images, those who chose Duterte had unique IP addresses, while those who choose Leni Robredo had the same number.





What is even more curious is that the same IP Address that repeatedly voted for Robredo, actually had two different picks for her running mate – Roxas (of course) and Grace Poe. This would indicate that (1) who ever was gaming our survey didn’t really care who was paired with Robredo, so long as she went up in the ratings, (2) the most likely culprit is someone from the Robredo camp. Which of course makes us wonder if this is also how they won.

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