Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Trolls may have an impact on Botswana’s 2024 elections

Botswana’s political environment has been suffocating in recent months. As the 2024 General Elections approach, the situation is likely to worsen. Presidential elections receive the most attention, which is understandable given that they determine who will lead the entire country for the next five years.

Botswana’s integration into the global economy is underscored by the country’s snowballing susceptibility to the growing incidence of trolls and bots. With new threats expected to emerge as the general elections approach, some are wondering how much damage trolls are likely to inflict on the integrity of Botswana’s 2024 general elections. While it is still too early to compile and tabulate the data, a cursory examination reveals that online bots and trolls have significantly evolved since the 2019 general elections.

The 2024 Botswana elections will be impacted by fake news, which is disseminated through social media by domestic or foreign troll factories. Several political pundits hold that view.

“False news played a major role in the last Botswana presidential election in 2019. Through social media, fictitious statements and events were disseminated by troll mills,” says Ronald Dintle. He adds that similar interference in general elections has been reported in neighbouring countries, so it’s expected that net trolls will attempt to influence Botswana’s election as it approaches.

“It is no longer essential to persuade a few thousand rally goers or to print an article in a major newspaper. You only need to disseminate your message among internet users because anything that has widespread exposure online will be discussed,” a further comment is made by him.

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