[Policy brief] The Influence Industry in Paraguayan Elections

Democracy Personal Data Research
Mockup sobre the influence industry in paraguayan elections

This policy brief addresses the growing influence of the political influence industry on Paraguay’s digital election campaigns between 2021 and 20231. It highlights growing concerns about the manipulation of elections through social media, the opacity of campaign financing and the lack of adequate regulations for handling personal data for political purposes.

Among the main findings of the research:

  • There are currently 43 national and foreign companies dedicated to providing digital electoral advertising services to 156 electoral campaigns in the period studied. Of these, 148 campaigns corresponded to individual candidacies, of which only 24 corresponded to women, reflecting profound inequalities in access to campaign resources that limit women’s participation in the digital space.
  • A considerable increase in monetary investment by political parties in digital influence strategies is noted, along with a greater variety of digital electoral propaganda companies supporting a wide range of parties and coalitions.
  • Several limitations persist in the openness of data provided by the Superior Court of Electoral Justice (TSJE) on political financing, as well as the lack of effective procedures for monitoring, accountability and criminalisation of electoral violations in the digital environment.

Among the main challenges, the report raises the urgent need to update electoral legislation to adapt it to the digital era, the formulation of robust laws for the protection of personal data, the strengthening of transparency and traceability of electoral information, the consideration of affirmative measures to reduce gaps in women’s electoral political participation in the digital space, and the improvement of control and accountability mechanisms related to campaign financing through social media.

Authors Leonardo Gómez Berniga y Eduardo Carrillo

1 According to Tactical Tech, the political influence industry involves consultants, technology companies and platforms and uses diverse strategies and tools to impact political opinions and behaviours. Its extensive and enigmatic role has significant implications for political, social and economic life. More information at: https://influenceindustry.org/en/project/about/