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How Facebook and TikTok are helping push Stop the Steal in Brazil

The Washington Post - 29 de outubro de 2022

In the days leading into Brazil’s most consequential presidential election in decades, Meta and TikTok have steered millions of Brazilians toward baseless accusations, false claims of election fraud, and extremist content, according to a left-leaning advocacy group that researches disinformation.

Portuguese-language searches for basic election-related terms such as “fraud,” “intervention” and “ballots” on Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta, have overwhelmingly directed people toward groups pushing claims questioning the integrity of the vote or openly agitating for a military coup, researchers from the advocacy group SumOfUs found. On TikTok, five out of eight top search results for the keyword “ballots” were for terms such as “rigged ballots” and “ballots being manipulated.”

The research is the latest in a growing body of evidence that social platforms are failing to prevent a flood of disinformation — some of it tinged with violence — on their services ahead of the runoff election Sunday between President Jair Bolsonaro and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Brazilian lawmakers last week granted the nation’s elections chief unilateral power to force tech companies to remove misinformation within two hours of the content being posted — one of the most aggressive legal measures against social media giants that any country has taken.

The Brazilian research institute NetLab found that both Meta and Google allowed political candidates to run advertisements on their platforms during the first round of voting on Oct. 2, even though such advertising is prohibited by Brazilian law during this period. The group also found evidence of paid advertising encouraging military interventions in the election as voters went to the polls.


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