New Frontiers: The 2019 Mozambique Elections on Social Media

This report presents the results of a six week study of digital communication platforms during the 2019 Mozambique election – the sixth multi-party general election in Mozambique’s democratic history. It is the latest piece of Demos research examining the ways in which the rise of digital technologies has impacted democratic processes around the world. Whether in the UK, Nigeria, the DRC or Mozambique, the use of social media in elections now receives widespread attention from traditional media for its role in informing, engaging and influencing citizens.

We set out to examine the kinds of activity taking place on online platforms during the 2019 election, and take in four of the major platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. The report presents a mixed-methods approach: where quantitative methods of data collection and analysis were not possible, research was supported through the qualitative monitoring of groups and communities.

This research presents a familiar story: the rise of mobile-first digital platforms is transforming the ways in which voters are able to access, discuss and disseminate information. Significant amounts of political campaigning in Mozambique is now taking place in online spaces. There is, however, more evidence that the rise of digital politics is bringing its own problems: low-quality information is rife, and transparency and accountability for that information is poor. ‘Fake news’ remains a feature of politics online. And as the use of closed networks like WhatsApp for politics becomes more widespread, political messaging and debate becomes decreasingly transparent and more difficult to explore and understand.

Read the full report here.