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Pro-Bolsonaro violence: experts highlight role of social media platforms

The Guardian - 09 de janeiro de 2023

The role of social media platforms and messaging apps in Sunday’s political violence in Brasília is under the spotlight after experts highlighted their use by Jair Bolsonaro supporters to question the presidential election result and organise the protests.

Facebook and Instagram’s owner, Meta, has said it will take down content that praises the storming of government buildings in Brazil’s capital, amid claims that tech firms had not done enough to head off the attacks or quell disinformation.

Nina Santos, a postdoctoral fellow at Brazil’s National Institute of Science and Technology in Digital Democracy, said the insurrection by radical Bolsonaristas was organised first on private messaging networks, such as Meta-owned WhatsApp and Telegram, before moving to public platforms for more visibility.

Nevertheless, another Brazilian social media expert said platforms had contributed to the spread of attempts to discredit Lula’s victory. “Social media played a fundamental role in implementing this narrative [of electoral fraud], convincing people, keeping them mobilised, and also as a way of organising this entire [Bolsonarista] movement,” said Rose Marie Santini, a professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and director of its NetLab social media research centre.


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