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Orchestrated disinformation and propaganda campaigns are often used to polarize online debates, radicalize public perception of sensitive issues and create moral panic. Misinformation encompasses false information, rumours, information with sensationalist and/or distorted framing and conspiracy theories that intend to negatively influencing public opinion. Therefore, understanding these strategies requires knowledge of the operation of the media ecosystem behind the dissemination of harmful content, composed of mainstream media, alternative media, hyper-partisan media, junk news portals, online advertisements, media platforms social and chat apps.


Using online platforms that society has no way of auditing, various campaigns take advantage of new technologies to boost narratives and influence public opinion, collective action and government policies. As such, the characteristics and particularities of each platform are also relevant factors in understanding the political, social and economic objectives of these influence operations. Across social media, trolls, bots, fake profiles, anonymous users, influencers and politicians stand out as producers and sharers of biased information that benefits specific financial and political interests.

In this line of research, we carried out cross-platform analyses on communication strategies and disinformation employed in contexts such as electoral campaigns, political crises, attacks on democratic institutions and attempts to delegitimize the traditional media. Diagnosing this informational phenomenon and its social and political consequences in Brazil is a research agenda for NetLab, as a problematic information environment can threaten public safety, fracture social cohesion, reduce trust in institutions and threaten the democratic rule of law .


In the dispute for the political support of religious groups, fundamentalist groups use moral panic strategies in agendas such as combating “gender ideology” and defending the “traditional Brazilian family”. In this project, we investigate the main actors and sources of religiously biased disinformation on the Brazilian internet.

Evangelical media in the digital ecosystem: the use of religion in cross-platform disinformation

Attack on democratic institutions: online campaigns against electoral integrity

In recent years, disinformation campaigns dedicated to undermining the credibility of institutions responsible for maintaining the democratic process have intensified in Brazil. Through a multiplatform analysis, in this project we research strategies and actors involved in threats to the integrity of Brazilian elections.

Disinformation and political polarization on the Brazilian internet

The growing political polarization has been explained by the popularization of coordinated disinformation campaigns and hate speech online. In this project, we analyze the specificities of the Brazilian case and the various techniques, strategies, agents and political and economic articulations in this field.

Governance, content moderation and citizen participation

The popularization of internet access has expanded the possibilities for social participation in political decisions, but online mechanisms do not necessarily guarantee more democracy or more protection against the violation of rights. We investigate the limits and contradictions of digital tools in the mediation between individual users and the collective promotion of citizenship.

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