The second preliminary statement of the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), has stated that online media platform, Dhiyares seemed to have orchestrated a coordinated disinformation campaign targeting the incumbent administration.
Highlighting that Dhiyares, also seemed to orchestrate a coordinated disinformation campaign targeting the incumbent, the EU EOM preliminary statement read that, numerous X/Twitter and Meta accounts of social media influencers disseminated false content, engaged in personal attacks, and propagated unsubstantiated accusations against both candidates.
The statement also read that some social media influencers spread misleading polls and disinformation on X/Twitter and that this activity intensified after the opposition accused the ruling party of being involved in the surge in re-registration applications, a claim that was denied by the Elections Commission of the Maldives.
EU EOM stated that they observed a notable rise in information manipulation. As such, EU EOM noted that online campaign rhetoric was polarised, featuring misleading narratives about the rival policy platforms of the two candidates.
They also highlighted that influencers, affiliated with political parties, disseminated disinformation concerning the presence of Indian troops in the Maldives, framing the run-off as a vote on sovereignty and noted that the PPM-PNC levelled accusations at the ruling party, alleging an Indian military presence.
EU EOM in their second preliminary statement, also noted that both major parties employed narratives about religion in their online posts to undermine their opponents and position themselves as the better option. "These stories were often amplified by religious figures, with political ties, sometimes incorporating video snippets from campaign gatherings where divisive language was evident," read that statement.
EU EOM noted that the digital space was rife with dubious polls, accusations of ID card falsification in the context of re-registration, and narratives about religion, revealing the spread of disinformation.