When it comes to social media platforms, everyone knows it’s better to cultivate a social network than to spam your contacts. Perhaps that’s the reason behind the Russian government’s newer, gentler approach to quelling political protesters.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev used his Facebook page to announce that he is ordering an investigation into violations during Russia’s recent parliamentary elections. These elections, which prompted reports of ballot stuffing and other irregularities, had angry citizens protesting, blogging and tweeting anti-government messages all week.
“I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at rallies,” Medvedev wrote in Russian, translated by Facebook’s native Bing translator. “Nevertheless, I have been instructed to check all messages with polling stations regarding compliance with the legislation on elections.”
Medvedev’s post has attracted over 4,000 likes and 13,000 comments. Although this reporter does not speak Russian, translating the comments reveals that few are positive.
It’s also just a week after like-minded Twitter spammers launched spambots to drown out protesters’ tweets. When protesters began arranging to meet in Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square (Триумфальной), so many bots began using the hashtag that prostestors could not communicate. Due to the onslaught, the blocked hashtag, #Триумфальной, became a Twitter topic last week, but is now being tweeted only sparingly.
Will the Kremlin catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? We’ll keep you posted.