Authorities in Brazil try to limit disinformation ahead of the presidential election.
Authorities in Brazil are trying to limit the flood of disinformation circulating online ahead of the presidential election. Although the country is better prepared to address the issue of fake news than it was during the 2018 campaign, certain types of content and platforms continue to pose a problem for citizens who need to get informed before going to the polls. Fernanda Bruno, professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said that the amount of fake news circulating is so prevalent and concerning that it is hard to quantify. This concern is backed by a Poynter Institute study that found that four out of 10 Brazilians receive disinformation daily. Another study, commissioned by the Brazilian Congress in 2019 found that 79 percent of Brazilians get their news primarily from WhatsApp. At the time, Bolsonaro successfully exploited this tool, building his campaign on photos, memes and video clips shared through millions of messages on WhatsApp. The company, which belongs to Facebook’s parent company Meta, conceded that some of those messages had violated the platform’s terms of services and used fake numbers to mass message political content. Professor Bruno also stated that the Bolsonaro campaign has now turned to Telegram, which is less closely monitored than WhatsApp.