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Greenwashing and Disinformation: The Toxic Advertising of Brazilian Agribusiness on the Networks

Communication and Society


Agribusiness, one of Brazil's main economic sectors, makes up one of the most powerful political forces in the country's congress, the Agricultural Parliamentary Front (FPA). The Front is the main driver of the anti-environmental lobby and seeks to influence labor, land and tax legislation in the country. However, the need to ensure a positive image of the sector is reflected in various communication strategies, including the placement of paid advertisements on online platforms.


In this sense, this research aims to analyze the possible presence of greenwashing and/or misinformation in the 158 advertisements published by the FPA on Facebook and Instagram during the year 2023. After collecting the advertisements in the Meta Ad Library interface, we adopted three complementary approaches analysis that allowed us to identify and interpret the discursive strategies used by the FPA to “improve the image of agriculture”: automatic word counting and analysis of co-occurrence between them, content analysis and discourse analysis. In the ads analyzed, sustainability is instrumentalized by Brazilian agribusiness as greenwashing and misinformation in its online advertising communication.


These discursive strategies are used in FPA's digital advertising to criminalize social movements fighting for agrarian reform and to spread panic about legal insecurities related to the right to property. In general, our results show that the advertisements defend the need to maintain the status quo of socioeconomic relations in the Brazilian countryside and promote denialism in relation to the environmental impacts of agribusiness.

 

How to cite: Medeiros, P., Salles, D., Magalhães, T., Melo, B., & Santini, RM (2024). Greenwashing and Disinformation: The Toxic Advertising of Brazilian Agribusiness on the Networks. Communication and Society , 45 , e024008.


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