2018 Elections

  • #ElectionWatch: Partisan Debate and Electoral Violence in Brazil

    On October 7, a few hours after the polls closed in Brazil and a runoff between the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro and leftist Fernando Haddad was announced, capoeira master Moa do Katende was stabbed to death in a bar.

    The murder received extensive attention because it was reported as an example of the increasing electoral violence in the country. The victim was a Worker’s Party (PT) supporter, while the suspect was an alleged Bolsonaro supporter.

    Read the full analysis on Medium.

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  • Brazil's Vote: The Role of Disinformation in the 2018 Elections

    Days after the first round of voting in the Brazilian election, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) hosted the conference call “Brazil's Vote: The Role of Disinformation in the 2018 Elections”todiscuss the impact of disinformation and misinformation on Sunday’s results.

    The Atlantic Council’s #ElectionWatch Latin America initiative has identified, exposed, and explained disinformation and the spread of misinformation in this year’s elections in Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. In Brazil, findings reveal that disinformation and misinformation circulated across Latin America's biggest democracy as voters headed to the polls in an extremely polarized environment.

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  • Brazilian Elections: Results and Expectations

    On Tuesday, October 9, only two days after the first round of voting in Brazil, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America, the Brazil-US Business Council, and the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted the conference call “Brazilian Elections: Results and Expectations” to discuss the impact of the outcomes ahead of second-round voting on October 28. 

    Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, kicked off the call with opening remarks, and Renata Vasconcellos, senior director of the Brazil-US Business Council, moderated the discussion between Ricardo Sennes, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, and Monica de Bolle, director of the Latin American Studies and Emerging Markets Department at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS).

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  • #ElectionWatch: Claims of Electronic Voting Fraud Circulate in Brazil

    Ahead of Brazil’s presidential election on October 7 vote, false narratives about electronic voting fraud have spiked and deepened mistrust as citizens head to the polls.

    The narrative has been amplified by the far-right frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro, who claimed the voting system is rigged in favor of the leftist Worker’s Party (PT).

    Read the full analysis on Medium.

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  • #ElectionWatch: Informação inverídica supera conteúdo factual

    Uma análise das 20 notícias sobre corrupção que geraram mais engajamento nas redes sociais este ano mostra que fontes de baixa credibilidade conseguiram atrair mais engajamento do que veículos tradicionais.

    Dentre as 20 notícias que atraíram mais interações no Facebook e no Twitter entre fevereiro e agosto deste ano, cinco não eram confiáveis: quatro eram inverídicas e uma foi publicada por um site que fazia parte de uma rede de desinformação. Além disso, uma foi criada por uma publicação de humor. Entre os quatro artigos mais populares, três estavam nestas categorias.

    Read the full analysis on FGV.

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  • #ElectionWatch: Migration to Gab in Brazil

    A significant number of Brazilians joined the social network Gab.ai after Twitter suspended accounts associated with the far-right in the country.

    Users from the country have since become one of the largest groups to access the Gab website, second only to the United States. Gab is well-documented as a fertile environment for the spread of conspiracy theories and hate speech.

    Read the full analysis on Medium.

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  • #ElectionWatch: As Colombia Votes Again, Misinformation Flows

    On Sunday, August 26, Colombians went to the polls again, this time to vote in a “popular consultation” on a series of seven initiatives intended to counter corruption. A significant share of the campaigning involved spreading misinformation — or countering it.

    The consultation asked Colombians to vote on seven initiatives intended to crack down on Colombia’s endemic corruption. If approved, they would have strengthened punishment for convicted corrupt officials, improved the transparency of public offices and public contracts, imposed a maximum of three four-year periods for holding seats in public corporations — Congress, department assemblies (something like state legislatures in the United States), and city councils — and lowered the salary of Congress members and other high-ranking public officials.

    The consultation was backed by both the president and the opposition, requiring a high turnout and a high vote to be approved, but failed to achieve the former....

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  • #ElectionWatch: URSAL, Illuminati, and Brazil’s YouTube Subculture

    A conspiracy theory that began as a throwaway joke in 2001 was amplified on YouTube and ended up being seriously quoted in a debate between Brazil’s presidential candidates on August 9.

    YouTube played an important role in the spread of the ­­United Socialist Republics of Latin America (URSAL) conspiracy theory in Brazil. YouTube algorithms consistently expose viewers who watch URSAL-related content to recommendations for other conspiracy-prone topics, making the theory an entryway into further online disinformation and potential radicalization.

    The acronym “URSAL” was coined as a throwaway comment in an article 17 years ago. It was subsequently taken up by far-right supporters who took it seriously and later resurfaced on YouTube, finally being denounced as a genuine Communist conspiracy by a candidate during the first presidential debate in Brazil.

    The incident shows the audience impact on YouTube, and the danger its algorithms pose in...

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  • #ElectionWatch: Bots Around Brazil’s First Presidential Debate

    The first presidential debate ahead of Brazil’s October election took place on Thursday, August 10. An analysis of online engagement around the televised event concluded that automated profiles comprised only around 3 percent of total interactions and that statements classified as “fake” by fact-checking agency Lupa (a partner of FGV DAPP’s Digital Democracy Room) had little impact on broader conversations. Yet for the first time since the pre-campaign period began, one piece of unverifiable news appeared among the top ten trending articles on social media. The piece, published by the website República de Curitiba, claimed Twitter “removed” mentions of right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro from the platform during the debate.


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  • Conference Call: Brazil's Election Takes Shape

    On August 16, the first official day of the Brazilian presidential campaign, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, in partnership with the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), hosted the conference call, “Brazil’s Election Takes Shape.” The discussion focused on three primary issue facing the incoming administration: economic reform and trade; political reform; and safety and citizen security.

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