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The Far-Right Smokescreen: Environmental Conspiracy and Culture Wars on Brazilian YouTube

Holding the greatest area of rainforest in the world, Brazil has seen the adoption of a far-right anti-environmental agenda under the administration of Jair Bolsonaro. This agenda was backed by a transnational infrastructure of right-wing media outlets on online platforms, including the conservative YouTube channel Brasil Paralelo.


Our research attempted to understand how environmental conspiracies in Brasil Paralelo’s documentary Cortina de Fumaça (in English, smokescreen) took advantage of both digital platform affordances and political alignment with the far-right government to gain social adherence and relevance.


By carrying out topic modeling on more than 13,000 comments and network analysis of 982 recommended videos on YouTube, we aimed to analyze the following:


  1. Which narratives fostered in the documentary have reverberated among the audience that published comments on its YouTube page and

  2. what type of video does YouTube recommend for users who watched Cortina de Fumaça


Our results show that far-right anti-environmental discourse is instrumentalized as yet another component of modern culture wars, where environmental conspiracies are placed side by side with other conspiratorial claims regarding politics, gender, religion, and other ideological subjects.


 

How to cite: Salles, D., de Medeiros, P. M., Santini, R. M., & Barros, C. E. (2023). The Far-Right Smokescreen: Environmental Conspiracy and Culture Wars on Brazilian YouTube. Social Media + Society, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051231196876





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