Beware of the forms of electoral misinformation – El Sol de México

In Mexico, as in many other places in the world, socio-digital networks and platforms have become increasingly used sources to stay up to date with information and news. According to Statista data, in 2023 in Mexico 63% of the population over 18 years of age used them as a news source. At the same time, other studies, such as the most recent Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute (2023), warn us that the majority of people who consume news online in Latin America (62%) are concerned about distinguishing true information from the false one on these networks and platforms.

In the case of our country, the situation becomes more worrying if we consider that, in general, peaks of misinformation tend to increase in electoral contexts, such as the one we are now experiencing. Furthermore, it is possible to think that there are also conditions conducive to this type of false information. Based on the specific report for Mexico from the aforementioned Reuters study, general trust in news has fallen from 49% in 2017 to 36% in 2023 and, even worse, only 41% trust news that is consumed personally . What to do in the face of this information panorama?

Let us remember that disinformation refers to all false information that has been created and disseminated with the intention of deceiving, manipulating or causing harm. When disinformation occurs in electoral contexts, its objective is to affect the legitimacy and trust in the processes and results of the vote. Furthermore, many times not only do we not detect it, but we can share it because it normally seeks to appeal to our emotions and a natural response that human beings have called “confirmation bias.” This bias means that, from the outset, we accept as valid all information that confirms what we already believe (including our fears and prejudices) and we reject everything that may call it into question.

For this reason, we must make a greater effort to detect misinformation. Here are some of the most common ways misinformation can present itself:

Fabricated content: when all the information in the note has been invented. For example, if we receive content that states that the “ink from the National Electoral Institute to mark ballots when voting can be erased.” This is completely fabricated, since ink is not used to mark the ballots, but rather an indelible crayon. This type of information is what we colloquially call “fake news.”

Impostor content: when an attempt is made to pass off a reliable source as the disseminator of false content. For example, if we find content that uses the logos or colors of the INE to spread a rumor that no major media outlet carries as news.

False context: when the content is authentic, but it actually happened in another place or at another time. For example, if we meet or are sent the now famous photos of ballot boxes burning in the days before or during election day. Here again, before getting alarmed, you must check with the official INE site ( and the main media we trust most.

Manipulated content: when parts of a true text, image, video or audio are edited to remove or add content that distorts its original meaning. For example, if we receive images or videos showing some supposed electoral credentials that were not marked from people who have already voted. Here it is worth remembering that, when voting at the polling station, each person hands over their electoral card to verify that it is on the Electoral Register and their card is marked in the space corresponding to the type of election being held with the last two digits of the year. (next June 2, it will be marked with the number “24”).

Therefore, in this electoral process, it is very important to be alert and not fall into the temptation of sharing the information that comes to us without first pausing briefly to ask ourselves if it might not be completely true. In this era of digital networks and platforms, it is also our responsibility as users to contribute to a better digital environment.

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