An independent expert report commissioned by the judge investigating the ‘Punic case’ at the National High Court, Manuel García Castellón, and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office shows that the Internet positioning services contracted for the former president of the Community of Madrid Hope Aguirre they included “attacks on their opponents”, as specified in the technical analysis prepared by the professors of the Complutense University of Madrid Sonia Sánchez-Cuadrado and the Carlos III Jorge Morato University.
The expert, who was delivered on July 12 to the Central Court of Instruction number 6, and to which he has had access’The newspaper of Spain‘, defends that the internet services deployed by businessman Alejandro de Pedro, accused in the’ Punic case ‘, for the former Madrid president were not aimed at improving the perception of the Community of Madrid, as an institution. On the contrary, he considers that the former officers of the PP benefited exclusively, since these works “are linked to the proper name of a certain person and not to an institution, or to the position”Reads the report.
De Pedro, who was arrested by the agents of the Civil Guard’s Central Operative Unit (UCO), confessed before the judge that he had received an envelope with 10,000 euros in cash from a manager of the Indra company, a concessionaire of the Community of Madrid. This businessman assured that the PP of Aguirre and the Community of Madrid they owed him up to 120,000 euros.
Attacks against Tomás Gómez
The report includes a copy of a document, which appears in the summary, in which the employees of the Eico-Madiva company, both owned by Alejandro de Pedro, specified the services or “Actions” directed to the Aguirre website as a candidate for the regional elections that were held in 2011 and in which the Madrid PP obtained an absolute majority over the socialist Tomás Gómez.
And on “the website of Esperanza Aguirre as a candidate” they also announced their intention to “attack opponents.” Specific, would create “smear websites”, “Critical content spaces” and “actions to discredit the candidates”.
In the reports that these companies prepared on the work to favor Ignacio González, reference is made to “a campaign of attacks against the political opposition, in the person of Tomás Gómez or of deputies of the Madrid UPyD Assembly, orchestrated from Eico ”, the university professors report in their work.
“10,000 visits and 100 likes”
The Alejandro de Pedro societies promoted the “mobilization of undecided”And the capture of the immigrant vote. And they were in charge of spreading the message that Aguirre wanted to convey. They also addressed the purchase of advertising space on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, as well as sending SMS and improving the “positioning of the president’s message, cleaning her current image on the network.” Finally they would support the dissemination of their videos, promoting “10,000 views, more than 100 likes and more than 50 comments”Recalls the expert.
In another section, the teachers report that despite the fact that many of the false profiles used by the ‘Púnica’ have already been deleted, the summary contains a reputational report by Eico on Aguirre, from April 2012, which shows that the plot created “personal spaces in blogs, social networks and spaces typical of web 2.0”. He also spread news of Aguirre’s activities in newspapers managed by Madiva, known as “zombie” newspapers, as they looped dozens of positive news about the clients of this company, with which they sought to bury the negatives.
Other documents seized by the UCO from Alejandro de Pedro show that between April and September 2012 the ‘Punic’ plot mobilized “50 users” with the intention of generating “350 posts (an average of seven messages per profile) ”, even reaching 400 messages.
A fake Wikipedia for Granados
In the case of the former secretary general of the PP Francisco Granados, it is highlighted that De Pedro created a false Wikipedia page for him: “The website ‘wikipediafranciscogranados.com’ not from Wikipedia encyclopediabut a site that has been named after Wikipedia. […] This strategy is aimed at confusing a user by making them believe that the result has to do with the well-known ‘online’ encyclopedia, taking advantage of its high degree of web authority. The objective of this action is possibly even to position this website above the authentic Wikipedia, which would be a case of impersonation ”, conclude the teachers.
The existence of these profiles for the politicians of the Madrid PP, alerts the teaching work, is well documented, since it appears in the budgets provided for the purchase of Twitter accounts: “This practice of action and the existence of this type of accounts violates the Twitter use policy in the years of publication. Many of these false profiles, their tweets or the links between the clients and the accounts have been eliminated ”, highlights the expert.
Buying votes in polls
The technical report also alludes to the fact that the ‘Punic’ was in charge of “vote buying in polls on recognized ‘online’ media, but also to respond to Aguirre’s adversaries. Thus it promoted the positioning of its own content in response to the adversary; at the same time that it was already taking for granted that it would have to carry out “actions” on the privatization of Canal de Isabel II, the privatization of hospital management, co-payment, the use of radio stations, subsidized schools and public health.
In its analysis, the expert report highlights that the application of the SEO strategies of the ‘Punica’ to achieve positioning on the internet was oriented to the terms “Ignacio González ”,“ Esperanza Aguirre ”,“ Borja Sarasola ”and“ José Manuel Berzal”.
Through the reports on online reputation and the records on the web, the professors confirm that the actions of De Pedro’s companies achieved a displacement of web sites (negative or uncontrolled), going on to place in the first twenty positions of the ranking the results managed by Eico-Madiva, of a personal nature and of the newspapers.
This activity of the companies of the ‘Punic’ caused, according to the expert, a “bombing” effect that achieved that the websites of the PP politicians promoted from the ‘zombie’ newspapers will occupy the first positions before a query on Google.
Does not improve the image of the Community
For this reason, the expert concludes that the justification of the work that the plot developed on the image of Aguirre and other ex-officers of the Madrid PP “it cannot be the improvement of the perception of an institution, since they are linked to the proper name of a certain person and not to an institution, or to the position ”.
Despite the fact that the experts’ editors acknowledge that “the messages issued” by the ‘Púnica’ “are directed at the activities of the person in charge during that period,” they conclude that “all that information little impact on the institution if you don’t search by the name of those people ”.
Regarding the payment of these works, the expert recalls that no contracts have been found that determine the agreements of the Madrid PP and the Community of Madrid with the Eico-Madiva companies, at the same time that they conclude that the amount of the invoices found “does not cover justified workload in reputational reports according to what is billed by the same company and the same type of work to other institutions ”, concludes the dossier.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.