The country’s main opposition coalitions have said that Ortega’s moves have “ended any vestige of real electoral competition.”
Some 140,000 Nicaraguans have fled their homeland since the government cracked down on widespread protests that began in 2018.
Meta said the troll farm removed in October was operated from postal service offices, noting that “smaller groups of fake accounts were run from other government offices, including the Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute.”
“This campaign was cross-platform and cross-government,” the company said. “It ran a complex network of media brands across Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Blogspot, and Telegram, as well as websites linked to these news entities. They posted positive content about the government and negative comments about the opposition, using hundreds of fake accounts to promote these posts.”
Ortega claims that the protests that erupted in April 2018 were a foreign-backed coup attempt. And he has clashed with Catholic bishops who mediated the short-lived first round of government-opposition talks, after which the government cracked down on the protests.
At least 325 people were killed during clashes that year between civilians and government forces in Nicaragua, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.