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Partnership between NetLab UFRJ and Senacon proposes monitoring of online disinformation

The Ministry of Justice and Public Safety (MJSP) has approved a partnership with the Internet and Social Network Studies Laboratory of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (NetLab UFRJ) through the Fund of Diffuse Rights of the National Consumer Secretariat (FDD / Senacon). The project aims to ensure specialized analysis of the functioning of the disinformation industry on digital platforms.

Entitled “Observatório da Indústria da Desinformação e seu impacto nas relações de consumo no Brasil”, the initiative's main purpose is to provide essential input to support public policies aimed at protecting consumers on the internet, especially on social media. This measure will allow us to identify how these manipulations in the relationships between consumers and advertisers, which can result in great losses, including financial ones, for society as a whole, are mediated by the platforms.

“Research on the disinformation industry in Brazil is still in its infancy, with little evidence on the reward structures, financial targets and centers of power that supply and finance influence and manipulation operations. It is essential to strengthen research centers that develop monitoring and evidence collection infrastructure on false advertisements, malicious recommendations and fraudulent monetization practices so that it is possible to produce a robust empirical and conceptual basis on this phenomenon in Brazil, in addition to supporting the creation of instruments that can curb bad practices”, said Rose Marie Santini, director of NetLab UFRJ and professor at the School of Communication (ECO) at the same university.

In addition to research on the disinformation industry, the project will also be dedicated to proposing transparency indicators for digital platforms, based on data generated by users and digital advertising. Another aim is to create a database with addresses of fraudulent accounts in which advertisers mislead consumers, steal their data or cause any other type of material and moral loss or damage.

The initiative took place as the two organizations' perceived the importance of consolidating partnerships between public authorities and civil society to monitor and fully comprehend the mechanisms of this market, mapping the actors involved, the main strategies used and their implications for business relations and consumption.


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