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Advertising creating debt: ads that use 'Desenrola Brasil' for scams on Meta

In May of this year, the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (Confederação Nacional do Comercio de Bens, servicos e Turismo) published a study indicating that around 78% of Brazilian families are in debt, with the potential for this rate to increase. On July 17, the Federal Government launched the first stage of the Desenrola Brasil program so that 70 million Brazilians can renegotiate their debts with financial institutions. In the first phase of the program, people who have bank debts of up to R$100.00 will have their names automatically cleared, while individuals with a monthly income of up to R$20,000 and who have debts of any amount will have the opportunity to negotiate directly with their banks.

Between the 19th and the 21st of July, we collected data from Meta's ad library, where the pieces promoted on the company's platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network, are archived. The objective was to identify fraudulent advertisements that used the name of the government program to scam citizens.

We found hundreds of advertisements by fraudsters that could harm potential beneficiaries of the program, particularly those ads which misappropriate the image of the federal government and Serasa, even after reports in newspapers and TV stations during the week denouncingthese scams. This report adds to a set of studies published by NetLab UFRJ that present evidence on transparency and security failures in advertising on digital platforms. Scams through social networks cause material damage to consumers, particularly those who are most vulnerable, who are targeted by the platforms themselves. The profits made by these companies from fraudulent advertisements, even when taken offline, make them direct beneficiaries of scams.

NetLab UFRJ - A Publicidade a Favor do Endividamento anúncios que usam o programa 'Desenro
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