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The role of social bots in the Brazilian environmental debate: an analysis of the 2020 Amazon Forest fires in Twitter



This paper examines the use of computational propaganda in the Brazilian environmental debate, focusing on the 2020 Amazon Forest fire discussions on Twitter. Through the use of a bot detector algorithm and social network analysis, the research aims to understand the role of social bots and the extent to which automated accounts reverberate certain ideological positions.


The study found that Twitter discussions were highly polarized between supporters and critics of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. While the participation of international celebrities in the debate increased the visibility of a civil society awareness campaign against the forest fires, it also triggered a computational propaganda counterattack by Bolsonaro’s supporters.


Our analysis indicates that the anti-environmentalist reaction aimed at denying the existence of an environmental problem in the Brazilian Amazon was heavily amplified by automated and inauthentic accounts.


 

Como citar: Salles, Débora, Priscila Muniz de Medeiros, Bruno Martins, Lorena Regattieri, and Rose Marie Santini. 2024. “The Role of Social Bots in the Brazilian Environmental debate:: An Analysis of the 2020 Amazon Forest Fires in Twitter”. The International Review of Information Ethics 33 (1). Edmonton, Canada. https://doi.org/10.29173/irie510.



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