Brazil 2022 election live: Lula and Bolsonaro in second round?
RIO DE JANEIRO – In 2018, Brazilian voters were inundated with lies ahead of the presidential election; Much of the content was in support of then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro, which helped propel him to the presidency.
This year, misinformation has persisted, but according to experts, it has become less widespread. In part, this is due to efforts by tech companies to suppress intentionally misleading posts. Aggressive Proceedings of the Federal Supreme Court Brazil and electoral authorities should force companies to remove content.
In particular, the court judge, Alexandre de Moraes, ordered the major social media companies Delete thousands of records, said they were spreading “fake news” or that those who published it had threatened the court. Few, if any, major democracies directly and often weigh in on what can be said online. A debate in Brazilian societyMany wonder how far the government can go in curbing misinformation.
So far, mixed results, experts say. “It’s necessary, it’s positive, but it’s not enough,” said Marco Aurelio Rüdiger, director of the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s communications school in Rio de Janeiro, “because the amount of fake news is huge.”
For their part, algorithms aimed at detecting misinformation are flawed. Even if that content is removed from a site, it finds a captive audience on a less rigorous network. Fake content has become more sophisticated, leaning towards distorted or misleading facts that are often difficult to remove.
“These are not outright lies,” says Tai Nalon, president of Aos Fatos, a disinformation research group in Brazil. “But they misrepresent a fact or beg a question or leave out context.”
Misinformation in Brazil is spread directly to people who may know each other, giving it less reach but often carrying more weight with recipients. “They don’t send lies to everyone anymore,” says Nelan. “We see misinformation spreading in mainstream groups, church groups.”
This year, reports suggesting that Brazil’s leftists are plotting to rig elections against Bolsonaro are particularly disturbing misinformation. The president himself promoted the theory, sparking debate on the Brazilian internet.
“Stop Theft” videos rehashing the president’s false fraud claims have drawn millions of views on YouTube and Facebook, according to SumOfUs, an advocacy group focused on corporate accountability. Google and Meta, the parent companies of Facebook and Instagram, have allowed thousands of ads, videos and posts on their sites expressing doubts about Brazil’s election process, the organization reported last week.
Social media research firm Cypra analyzed posts from 4,440 accounts discussing Brazil’s voting systems on Twitter, TikTok or Facebook in recent weeks and found that 6 percent of the posts came from false accounts. It has reached 1.3 million people.
Some publications have also attacked Bolsonaro’s main rival, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a former leftist president. Some publications falsely claimed that he planned to close churches and turn the country into an oppressive communist state.
Despite the false content in Da Silva’s favor, Nelan says the left rarely sees outright lies or baseless conspiracies. Instead, left-leaning posts focused on highlighting Bolsonaro’s poor record, including his handling of the pandemic.
“There is a lot of bad talk” about Bolsonaro, says Nalan. “But it’s more of a propaganda tone…”.
Bolsonaro has defied opinion polls that have him trailing da Silva, who has held a double-digit lead for months. The President’s Echo is the latest viral clip from Brazil’s biggest nightly newscast handled Presenter to show a bogus poll putting Bolsonaro ahead of his left-wing rival.
However, many Brazilians learned valuable lessons during the pandemic, when misinformation about the coronavirus and the vaccine continued, much of it spread by Bolsonaro.
“People are more critical now, more cautious,” says Rudiger. “They don’t fall for every lie.”