Every day they can receive 10,000 or 15,000 messages on social networks. Thousands of users who, many times hidden in anonymity, turn to Twitter their opinions, their criticisms and, above all, their attacks. Politicians, on both sides of the ideological spectrum, have made the social network of the little blue bird a direct channel of communication with citizens. But it is a two-way channel. And what comes to them is not always good. Insults and threats are the order of the day. The recipe for surviving in that world, recommend several deputies to THE NEWSPAPERis to read little and a lot of humor.
“I do not read 90% of the messages and with the other 10% I laugh at them“, assures the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Paul Echenique. The purple leader is one of the political stars who roam Twitter with more than 600,000 followers. Without ever biting his tongue, he usually releases what he thinks on social networks. And the reactions are not usually long in coming. “The truth is that it doesn’t affect me“He says about the insults that usually come to him, although he admits that at first it was not so simple.
To the Citizens spokesperson, Edmund Ball, something similar happens. It affects him “little” what they can say about him on Twitter. His passage through the social and criminal jurisdiction as a State attorney hardened him: “They have told me everything in trials, outside of trials, waiting for me at the exit…”. In his conversation with this newspaper he drops that this game has already passed. “The very childish ones believe that they are going to hurt you and that this is going to affect you. I inform you that it is not so. I take it as a medal”, he says about those who day after day bet on social networks to shoot offensive messages against him.
Cross all the lines
Ignoring the messages, however, is not always an option. The deputy of the Canarian Coalition, Ana Oramas, was one of the pioneers on Twitter and more than eight years ago she had to file a complaint for threats received on this social network. The problem was that it was necessary for Twitter’s parent company in the United States to authorize giving information about the IP from which the message was published. The thing ended in nothing.
Since then, Oramas received, first, the attacks of followers of United We Can for criticizing paul churches and, later, of Vox. “It was horrible. I put a video on an intervention on Health and they called me from everything. She was insulted by 3,000 users. I was blocked from social networks,” she says. The Canarian deputy points out that “the left never makes sexual connotations, the opposite of the extreme right.” Some of these messages include explicit references to sexual violence. It reached a point where was forced to introduce a filter with more than 200 swear words to avoid these tweets, but they found a way to get around it by inserting periods and hyphens in the words.
The good side
Beyond the ability of each one to deal with such a degree of aggressiveness, Bal also points to the fact that these attacks not only affect the person to whom they are directed, but also their entire social circle. “The people around you, who love you, are outraged. What I have to do is calm them down. Those messages make me laugh, but the people around me don’t like them so much, “says the orange deputy.
Despite everything, none of them has considered leaving social networks. Bal admits that he also receives a lot of support from his followers after his interventions in Congress; Echenique is left with the affection that comes to him when they try to “humiliate” him for his condition as a person with a disability; and Oramas because it is “the only way” for his parliamentary work to reach the Canary Islands.
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