One of the highest paid mayors in Guatemala also monetizes content on Facebook

His Facebook Page is categorized as Content Creator even he is a politican, Mayor and soon to be candidate in the next elections.

Screenshot from the Facebook Page of Neto Bran: link

Neto Bran, Mayor of Mixco city, posted an statement from Meta with his earnings monetizing content from his Facebook Fan Page. He was thankful because a content creator told him to start monetizing his Social Media accounts. He also offers to buy happy meals to children in that city.

Post in Facebook: link

A busy Mayor

Mixco is the second largest city in the country. Bran was elected in 2015 and then in 2019 again (for a second period). He also has one of the highest paid salaries in the country.

In 2019 Plaza Pública published about two mayors earning above $10,000 monthly:

Also Ojoconmipisto in 2020 reported about Bran monthly earnings above $10,000 and how many times his administation has failed to comply with transparency and open government practices and laws.

In both investigations is clear that he has a lot of city council meetings and is working full time. In March 2020 he almost reached $12,000 because of diets from city council meetings.

It is clear he is always so busy yet he has time to run a barber shop, a clothing store, a Gym and create social media content (Lives, podcast and TikTok videos).

To keep creating this amount of content he has a team of 32 people. Ojoconmipist found the monthly budget for his team is Q214,000 (above $28,000). Here you can check the payroll in Quetzales.

It is not clear if this team also creates the content for his Fan Page but we can be sure both Fan Pages has the same amount of admins (11).

He has a podcast. Is this podcast using public fonds? Is not clear, but this podcast is well produced, is not a solo project. This requires time and resources. Also a team of producers and editors, at least.

The Money

The problem here is basically that he could be using public funds to create content which later is monetized.

Facebook rules about monetization are not clear about preventing this (if the case is that this should be prevented), but it is likely that they are giving money to a politican (and elected Mayor). Even if the politician choose to appear as a content creator there sould be rules, otherwise this open many doors. Specially to politicians and how they bend rules or sneak through gray areas and manages to make money.

And this is extensive to other Social Media platforms. Are there any other cases? Is this something should be prevented? I guess there is a lot to discuss about this, but the first step is to be aware this is happening.

I really hope this changes in the near future.

In case of later editions I will list them here.

Journalism • Safety & Security | Internet • Disinfo • OSINT • Fire Science | Fellow: JICA ’01 • DW ’10 • ICFJ ’15 • RNTC ’20 • RSF ‘21