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Unfounded rumors of election vote rigging spreading online

Unfounded rumors of election vote rigging spreading online

Posted December. 22, 2012 00:51,   


Supporters of the main opposition Democratic United Party are spreading rumors of vote rigging on the Internet and social networking sites despite the party`s candidate conceding defeat in the presidential election Wednesday. A few posters have even urged the United Nations to intervene.

The rumors can be refuted by doing simple Web searches. One allegation on Twitter said eight million votes were considered “invalid,” a figure that came from the National Election Commission’s tally of slightly more than eight million votes as of 11:20 p.m. Wednesday.

The number included those who did not vote or who gave up their right to vote at polling stations. One online poster a rumor mistook it as the number of invalid votes.

In one Internet community, another rumor said the same eight million votes were for Moon Jae-in but were deemed invalid. Another rumor said there were nearly 35 million votes though an estimated 30.7 million voters cast ballots. The election commission’s official number of votes was 30.7 million.

Internet users who fell for the rumors sent tweets to the official Twitter account of the U.N. (@UN_DPA), urging the world body to intervene and hold a new and fair election. They did so after reading another tweet saying the U.N. had stepped in the elections of other countries for fair voting. Such users are sending tweets to the U.N. account with claims of vote rigging in Korea`s presidential election Wednesday.

Psychologists attribute such behavior to cognitive dissonance in that supporters of a losing candidate negated the result they did not want to believe to overcome an unacceptable situation.“Many people who make an argument tend to select information that support their argument or even distort data,” said Kwak Keum-joo, a psychology professor at Seoul National University. “In extreme cases, they tend to consider false information true.”