On March 15, Media Center hosted Region Research Center director Laura Baghdasaryan, who presented the research results of the post-election period (February 19-March 10), as part of the “Facebook as Pre-Election Platform in Armenia: Presidential Elections” study.
The research has covered the Facebook (FB) pages of former presidential candidates (Raffi Hovannisian, Hrant Bagratyan, Paruyr Hayrikyan, Andreas Ghukasian, Arman Melikyan, and Aram Harutyunyan), those of active users affiliated with this or that political force, among them Tigran Kocharyan, Styopa Safaryan, Armen Ashotyan, Hrant Ter-Abrahamyan, as well as of various FB groups.
Baghdasaryan says that in general Facebook in the post-election period stood out for the tension of counteraction among users.
“If in the campaign period there were jokes, in the post-election period the posts were more serious, offering stricter judgements. The strugle turned tenser and Facebook flooded with black PR was a rather interesting subject of investigation,”she said.
The research indicates that the passions flared up especially after March 10, when Raffi Hovannisian announced his decision to go on a month-long hunger-strike.
“It is noteworthy that the ruling Republican party Facebook supporters seem to have taken time out over the past few days, it’s like they are in a state of anticipation,” said Baghdasaryan.
During the pre-election campaign the presidential hopefuls mostly kept using FB as a means of spreading information.
The study showed that among the former candidates the most active in anti-propaganda on post-election Facebook was Arman Melikyan, who was mostly speaking out against Raffi Hovannisian.
Baghdasaryan pointed out that the number of “likes” of Raffi Hovannisian’s FB page grew rapidly in the post-election period, reaching 28,000 from 15,000.
“Raffi Hovannisian personally is not active on Facebook, but his page had 217 posts in the covered period, and various election-related discussions, and that’s a record-breaking number,” she said.
The Region Research Center will continue monitoring Facebook in the post-election period till April 9 (the president’s inauguration day), and will simultaneously study the FB developments and discussions around the forthcoming municipal elections in Yerevan.