In modern societies, the risk of politically oriented false information spread through digital media has been arising, endangering democratic processes. Concern over the problem is global. However, little is known regarding fundamental issues about the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society in general to these kinds of manipulations.
In 2016 the Colombian government and the guerrilla group FARC-EP signed an agreement to end more than 50 years of civil war. After the final agreement was made, both delegations agreed to a plebiscite for its public endorsement. While the “Yes” (pro peace agreement) campaign used official channels to make propaganda to support the peace agreement, the “No” (against peace agreement) campaign used, among other strategies, digital media to spread fake news against it. Opposite to all opinion polls, the plebiscite failed with 50,2% voting against it, endangering the success of the peace process.
The present doctoral thesis attempts to analyze the influence of false information spread through digital media in the perception of the peace agreement in Colombia, specifically the influence of fake news in the plebiscite of October 2016. The methodology is qualitative, in which content analysis is used to analyze the propaganda of both campaigns, focusing on false information spread through digital media. With this study, the nexus between false information, digital media and democracy through the Colombian plebiscite case will be explored.