A Facebook page of the Government of Quebec raises eyebrows

If you see the content of the Facebook page Political News Quebec, know that it comes from the parliamentary wing of the Liberal Party of Quebec. At first glance, however, the source of this content is not so obvious.

The Facebook page, which has the slogan “Exclusive content, without filter, at your fingertips”, was created in November. Since then, sound recordings of press scrums have appeared, as well as capsules of Liberal ministers.

For example, on Thursday, a publication titled “Restore the facts: Gaétan Barrette talks about the situation concerning nurses” was put online to present the point of view of the Minister of Health and Social Services without the media filter .

Although the page highlights members of Philippe Couillard’s government, we must go to the “About” section to see that it is managed by the social media committee of Liberal MPs in Quebec City.

Mix of genres

The columnist for Radio-Canada, a specialist in disinformation and the demystification of false news, Jeff Yates, explains that it is normal for a government or political party to want to communicate its message directly to the population rather than go through a media outlet. He is sorry, however, that the page Political News Quebec can “be confusing”.

Often, people do not know the source of the information they consult. Here, there is no party or government logo. Some people might think it’s an opinion blog.

Jeff Yates, columnist for Radio-Canada

Prime Minister Charles Robert’s spokesman says the page is an extension of the government’s traditional press releases and that it is “obvious” from the outset that it comes from the Liberal wing. “It’s okay for the government to put its actions in value; we need to rationalize and contextualize, “he says, insisting that the information disseminated is” factual “.

With this Facebook page, the government also remains far from the weekly news reports produced by the camp of US President Donald Trump and which aim to fight what they call the “false news”.

The “unofficial” accounts of the CAQ

As the borders are sometimes blurred on social networks, the Accounts-CAQ Facebook and Twitter would have no connection with the Future Coalition Quebec (CAQ), otherwise they are administered by a very strong activist of the organization policy.

The administrator of these accounts shares in particular the contents of media that directly or indirectly touch the CAQ, often accompanied by comments.

“It’s a partisan initiative. We do not intervene in what he does, “says party spokesman Thomas Léveillé. The CAQ does not see any problem, however, that this activist uses the logo and photos of the party.

Media content taken for advertising purposes

Facebook is now an essential platform for advertising. It is now possible to see the advertisements of political parties by consulting their respective account.

The Parti Quebecois is very active in publishing sponsored content that targets specific segments of the population. Often, however, the organization pays to promote television media interview clips or written media texts, such as the LCN network or the HuffPost.

Commented, HuffPost Quebec’s deputy editor Christian Duperron was puzzled by this approach. “Since the comments in our articles are not distorted and different sources are used by political parties, I do not know for the moment what our options are for such a strategy,” he told us by e-mail .

Social networks are constantly pushing the boundaries, so they will undoubtedly lead the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec to greater vigilance during the next election campaign.

Kevin Jones is the lead editor for Nova Scotia Today.. Kevin has written for many publications including CBC Vanity Fair and Bleacher Report. Kevin is based here Halifax and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Kevin also enjoys woodworking.

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