The influence industry in the Paraguayan elections: analysis of actors and recommendations

A sketch on a background image, mostly in turqoise color and with various shapes
In this article, TEDIC discusses their policy brief and findings from their research into the influence industry in Paraguay. TEDIC used electoral finance records and social media transparency tools to find evidence of private firms working with political actors in Paraguay with the Influence Industry Project's research methodology serving as their foundation.

Este estudio de caso también está disponible en español

We at TEDIC, in collaboration with Tactical Tech's Influence Industry Project, delved into the complex and unexplored scene of digital campaigns during election times in Paraguay through our recent Policy Brief "The Influence Industry in Paraguayan Elections". We approached document as a political report that seeks to highlight the growing concern about election manipulation through social media, the opacity in campaign financing and the lack of adequate regulations for the management of personal data with political purposes.

The research that gave rise to this document revealed that between 2021 and 2023, 43 national and foreign companies were involved in providing digital propaganda services to 156 electoral campaigns in Paraguay. This number includes 148 individual campaigns, of which only 24 were led by women, indicating not only a growing dependence on technology in politics but also deep gender inequalities.

Furthermore, the increase in investment in digital strategies by political parties, and the opacity in financing and the lack of adequate regulation on the use of personal data, have been contributing to a crisis of confidence in the Paraguayan electoral system. This scenario is further complicated by the lack of effective procedures for monitoring and accountability, particularly in the digital environment.

One of the most alarming findings of this document is the limited openness of the data provided by the Superior Electoral Court (Spanish acronym: TSJE) regarding political financing. This lack of transparency underlines the need for an urgent update of electoral legislation to adapt it to the current digital era, including solid protection of personal data and the improvement of transparency and accountability mechanisms.

The need for electoral reform is urgent. This has even been recognized by the Superior Electoral Court itself, which recently announced the introduction of a package of legislative reforms for the new parliamentary term of 2024 and highlighting issues such as the inclusion in the electoral roll of prisoners who had not been convicted, the use of dark boxes and plastic ballot boxes, modification of electoral deadlines, the introduction of biometrics for voter identification, a digital ethical pact, among others.

Such a desire for reform is worthy of highlighting. However, it must be carried out from an evidence-based approach that also incorporates issues such as oversight of advertising expenditure on social networks. What has just been pointed out shows a series of gaps and needs, but also a path forward with a view to strengthening the current electoral scenario and with a view to generating greater reliability and trust towards the electoral system and its institutions.

Recommendations for a more transparent future

In response to these challenges, the Policy Brief proposes several recommendations:

  1. Improving transparency: Promote alliances with digital platforms to implement cross controls on investments in campaigns, ensuring uniformity and veracity.
  2. Detail electoral propaganda services: Require detailed descriptions of digital services to be published, including the use of data and segmentations.
  3. Inclusion and gender equity: Establish effective measures to improve access to digital resources for women candidates and underrepresented communities.
  4. Data protection and transparency legislation: Urge government bodies to enact a comprehensive law on personal data protection to regulate the collection and use of data by political actors and companies.
  5. Cybersecurity and access policies: Implement policies to ensure secure and continuous access to electoral information, especially for overseas voters.
  6. Tools for data consultation: Suggest that National Observatory of Political Financing (ONAFIP) have a public API for data queries and extractions, facilitating more effective access to electoral information.
  7. Access to digitized public information: Include download options for relevant documents, thus improving transparency and control by citizens.

This analysis and the proposed recommendations aim not only to emphasizes current challenges but also to offer concrete solutions to ensure that future elections in Paraguay are fairer, more transparent, and free from undue influences.

Get to know the industry

The data collected, with the description of each company involved in Paraguayan electoral processes, the source where the information is available, and the volume of investments, can be found in the Explore section of the Influence Industry page, developed by Tactical Tech.

Discover the Explorer database for yourself here

On the site, data can be filtered by country, category, and even searched by company name. The data can be exported, allowing more researchers to carry out public oversight tasks. The website also provides details of the methodology used, as well as relevant case studies from other countries.

black and white image showing the influence industry explorer entries that are associated with paraguayFind this information and more at the Explorer database

Call to action

We, at TEDIC, invite everyone interested in democracy and electoral transparency to download and read our Policy Brief "The Influence Industry in Paraguayan Elections" to better understand these challenges and join the path towards significant reforms in our electoral system.

To read the entire Policy Brief, visit:

Download a copy of the TEDIC's Policy BriefDownload PDF

About the Authors:

TEDIC is a Paraguayan organization dedicated to defending and promoting digital rights on the Internet. TEDIC focuses on issues such as privacy, freedom of expression, personal data protection, and universal access to technology. Through research, awareness campaigns, and community projects, TEDIC strives to build a free, open, and secure Internet for everyone.

Find TEDIC on the web and across social media: Web, LinkedIn, Facebook,Instagram, YouTube, X / Twitter, y TikTok.

If you want to find out more about the firms that support political parties engage with Google advertising, head over to The Influence Industry Explorer.

The influence industry is led since 2016 by Tactical Tech’s Data and Politics team addressing the pervasive data-driven technologies used by political groups within elections and political campaigns.

First published: May 23, 2024

Read another case study:

Learn more about developing research