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Mexican Government v. Los Twitteros

by on July 4, 2010

Companies with a social media strategy in Mexico beware:  the Mexican government is possibly out to hamper your marketing efforts.

As most news-savvy people know, Mexico has been battling severe violence and drug cartels near its borders for years.  In fact, Mexico has become synonymous as of late with drug trafficking and violence along its border with the U.S.  Most of this, we all know.  What isn’t common knowledge is these criminals have turned to an unlikely source to aid in their evasion of the police checkpoints and military raids: social media.

Mexican drug cartels utilize Twitter and Facebook to not only communicate with one another discreetly, but also to spread fear in certain Mexican communities.

“Twitter is a serious problem not only to Mexican law-enforcement agencies but to any law or intelligence agencies all over the world, because criminals, drug cartels and terrorist cells are getting more sophisticated in their methods of communication”    -Gahleb Krame, security expert at Mexico’s Alliant International University
Recognizing this, the Mexican Government has recently introduced legislation that would heavily regulate social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.   The legislation’s sponsors intend to set up an online police force to keep abreast of drug cartel activities.
But why regulate?  With known drug cartels utilitizing Twitter and Facebook, this should be a relatively easy way for the government to set up anonymous groups or users to watch and track these cartels.  Most users of Los Twitteros, mexican for “Twitter,” express anger over the government’s proposal to regulate these sites, saying it’s another way for the government to act like Big Brother.
This should also be a deterrent to companies looking to establish themselves digitally in Mexico.  A recent Ogilvy market research insight indicates that Mexico is on the verge of explosive Internet growth.  According to Ogilvy, Internet penetration in Mexico is at a very low 25-30%, and will continue to grow rapidly.  In addition, social media adoption is strong in the country and driven by young influencers.  48% of of all Internet users in Mexico are 15-24, compared to 26% worldwide.   According to Ogilvy’s chart below, early adopters are very engaged online in Mexico.

While the drug cartels and “bad people” are utilizing social media channels in Mexico, the government should attempt to beat them at their own game, and utilize social media to their advantage.  They should not take a short-term look at regulating social media because of this, thus possibly limiting economic growth and citizen adoption of online information.  If companies looking to grow in Mexico are sanctioned by these government regulations, they just might look elsewhere to invest and expand their operations.

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From → USA

One Comment
  1. Nice simple analysis of a core problem in Mexico and the supporting information and stats are well integrated into your post. The conclusion is relatively basic, though accurate about what the government could do – but to bring it to life with some more concrete suggestions would be what you need to complete this post. It was a good clear flow, and there was nothing wrong with the post as is though it was missing some additional detail on your thinking that would take it from a good post to a complete and great one. (4)

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