In Peru, the second round of the presidential campaign has caused more turmoil online than in the streets. On social media, Keiko Fujimori sympathizers (called “Fujis”), and those in favor of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (known as “Ppkausas”), have been attacking each other with every weapon at their disposal. A report from May 6 in the magazine Hildebrandt en sus Trece revealed the digital strategy of Fujimori's party, Fuerza Popular. It seems that the Fujimori side has acted in a more forceful manner and has been more inclined to insults. According to the magazine, their slogan is basically “Destroy Pedro Pablo Kucznski, members of his team and anyone who dares to criticize Keiko Fujimori.” This may be why Fujimori supporters online have become known as “Fujitrolls”.
A recent attack happened between Twitter users @clauxbryce and @elianacarlin. After @elianacarlin tweeted about the discovery of a newly exposed pro-Fujimori group, @clauxbryce responded by calling her a terrorist. He also tweeted that “we have identified them” and “they won't be around much longer.” Carlín Eliana is one of the founders of the group No to Keiko and is often accused of working for Nadine Heredia, the wife of current Peruvian president Ollanta Humala.
— Hurgar en la Memoria (@hurgamemoriaPE) May 12, 2016
There is talk of teams working on three levels — the first being semi-institutional accounts or organized groups and supporters of Fujimori — although they are not officially part of her political party. For example, groups such as @CibernautasFP and @Jovenesconkeiko broadcast official statements of Keiko Fujimori and spokespeople of Fuerza Popular. The second level consists of personal accounts of Fujimori supporters (@uterofavre, for example, and @duchope, whose account was recently deleted), which were responsible for creating the trends #BajaBajaPPK (Down Down PPK) and #PPKaos (a play on PP Kuczynski's name and the “PPKausas” team that supports him, making it sound like “chaos”). The third level is a paid anonymous team that work two shifts, attacking Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his supporters.
Pía Hildebrant, journalist of the weekly Hildebrandt en sus Trece, posted on her Facebook account:
hemos conocido más detalles patéticos, perturbadores y escabrosos de lo que hace esa gentuza […] El líder de los fujitrolls es un tal Christian Peralta, jefe de imagen de K. Fujimori (ver foto), a los fujitrolls les pagan “hasta 200 soles por semana” (o sea, más o menos 5 soles la hora; o sea, si en una hora -60 minutos- escriben 60 insultos -ganan 0.0833 céntimos de sol por cada comentario o tuit insultante; […] Qué asco, en serio. No los trolls, pobrecitos -en serio, me dan pena-, sino los fujimoristas usándolos de la manera más infame y canalla. Toda la miseria humana se concentra en la mafia naranja. Toda. No puede volver a gobernar el Perú.
we have learned more about the pathetic, disturbing and obscene details of what's behind this […] The leader of the fujitrolls is Christian Peralta, head of PR for K. Fujimori (see photo), the fujitrolls are paid “up to 200 soles [59,98 USD] per week” (ie. more or less 5 soles per hour, so if in 60 minutes they write 60 insults, they earn 0.0833 cents per comment or insulting tweet; […] Seriously, how gross. Not the trolls, poor things, seriously I feel sorry for them, but the Fujimori supporters using them in this vile and shameless way. All human misery is concentrated in the orange mafia. All of it. It cannot return to govern Peru.
The @fujitrolls account, dedicated to exposing the users behind the second level Twitter accounts mentioned above, was reactivated. The account is supposedly managed by several journalists who ask their followers to help identify the anonymous users behind the belligerent Fujitroll accounts.
Journalist and attorney Rosa María Palacios commented on her Facebook account that she is often targeted by anonymous accounts online, especially on Twitter. For this reason, she maintains, if there is an opportunity to identify people engaged in cyberbullying, personal attacks or violations of privacy, why not do it?
Con mucha paciencia un grupo de periodistas ha identificado las identidades de los cabecillas que nos han difamado durante años. Como la mayoría de este grupo virulento y soez se dedica a patrocinar a Keiko Fujimori han sido bautizados como Fujitrolls. No son todos los que están, ni están todos los que son (seguimos recibiendo información), pero hay lo suficiente para que las familias de estos sujetos, sus colegas en sus trabajos, sus jefes y sus amigos conozcan quiénes son estos seres perturbados con personalidades escindidas que se esconden detrás de un alias para matar con la palabra.
With great patience a group of journalists have uncovered the identities of the ringleaders who have slandered us for years. Since most members of this foul and virulent group are dedicated supporters of Keiko Fujimori they have been baptized Fujitrolls. There are still more of them (we continue receiving information), but there is enough to expose to the families of these individuals, their work colleagues, their bosses and their friends just who these disturbed personalities are that hide behind aliases to kill with words.
The war online catches the attention of the press
Various media outlets reported on the unmasking of the Fujitrolls. La República contacted Keiko Fujimori for comment and she said that she “condemns any kind of insult, no matter who is involved.” Fujimori told Perú21 that her political organization does not use Fujitrolls:
— fujitrolls (@fujitrolls) May 12, 2016
[BREAKING] Alias Mar Mounier has fallen. @elhigadodmarita
Meanwhile, on SpacioLibre, people commented on the newly identified Twitter user:
Maire Anthoanete Carrillo Herrera (a) “Mar Mounier” @elhigadodmarita en Twitter, ha sido por años una de las más acérrimas defensoras del fujimorismo y la más crítica de los periodistas “caviares” [de izquierda] y de los “rojetes” “terroristas” que siquiera se atreven a contradecir y denunciar a las huestes fujimoristas, Carrillo no solo ha llevado esa “lucha” en el mundo virtual sino que incluso ha sido comentarista en diversos programas conducidos por connotados periodistas “anticaviar” como Phillip Butters (por citar a alguno).
Maire Anthoanete Carrillo Herrera (a) ‘Mar Mounier’ @elhigadodmarita on Twitter, has been one of the fiercest defenders of Fujimori for years and the most critical of ‘caviares’ journalists [leftists] and of the ‘reds’ ‘terrorists’ who even dare to contradict and denounce the Fujimori supporters, Carrillo has not only taken the fight to the digital realm, but has also been a commentator on various programs conducted by renowned anti-leftist journalists like Phillip Butters (to cite one).
@elhigadodmarita responded to the @fujitrolls’ revelations ironically and very much in keeping with her defiant style, stating forcefully that they could not shut her up. The tweet was deleted during the editing of this article, but the replies from other users are still online. Meanwhile, those who defend her make their own opinions publicly known:
@elhigadodmarita Sigue adelante Mar, lo principios no se negocian, no se venden. Difícil q un caviar y la izquierda lo entiendan.
— Mariana Zelazon (@MarianaZelazon) May 12, 2016
Keep going Mar, principles are not negotiable, they are not for sale. It's difficult for a caviar and the left to understand.
— El Pulmon de Susan (@Pulmon_de_Susan) May 12, 2016
What they have done to @elhigadodmarita is a dirty trick, man. She is lewd and toxic but has NOT defamed.
While on Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's side there are also sympathetic tweeters that go on to be trolls, there is probably a minimally organized team online (as is typical for most political parties). That side of the controversy has not received the same level of attention — journalist Milagros Leiva points this out in her tweet:
Los troles caviares ponen su identidad real? No todos y son tan cobardes como fujitrolls, lo que queda es bloquearlos y nunca más leerlos…
— milagrosleiva (@MilagrosLeivaG) May 12, 2016
Do leftist trolls use their real identity? Not all of them and they're as cowardly as fujitrolls, you just have to block them and never read them again…
Another journalist, Isabel Guerra, is simply against this manner of dealing with the trolls. For her, this strategy is the same as taking justice into their own hands:
Soy totalmente antifujimorista, pero como demócrata rechazo que la justicia pase por la venganza. Sí a las listas, no al linchamiento.
— misabelg (@misabelg) May 13, 2016
I am completely against Fujimori, but as a democrat I reject that justice turns into revenge. Yes to the lists, no to the lynchings.
This seems to be the first battle in a war that's already been declared. Neither side can be trusted because at any moment they might counterattack. All that's left is to count the casualties and be vigilant. Unfortunately, as in any conflict of this nature, ethics in political conversation between citizens are among the casualties, and public participation could become discouraged when confronted with movements that can be seen as virtual executions.
The original version of this post appeared on the blog Globalizado by Juan Arellano.