Sweet and sour flavors from Brazil

The international press is beginning to lack the adjectives to describe the magnitude of the misinformation that Brazilian voters they have endured during the election campaign that has returned the presidency of the country to Lula da Silva. The “bombing”, “tsunami” or “daily barrage of false news” has been closely observed and analyzed by hundreds of expert eyes and that is one of the good news that these elections leave. Disinformation is no longer cooked behind the backs of diners nor does it generally circulate without being identified for what it is: a malicious electoral resource to change the direction of the vote. Bolsonaro’s victory in 2018, based on an imposing and opaque strategy on networks such as Facebook or WhatsApp, made evident the need for a more trained press in verification techniques and tools. Currently, seven Brazilian media, AFP We checked, Dos Fatos, boatos.orgComporta, E-Farsas, Fato ou Fake Y Magnifying glasscombine journalistic flair and technology to operate as one of the retaining walls against manipulation on social networks.

The electoral process in Brazil has coincided in time with the campaign of the midterm elections in the United States. And the Anglo-Saxon media and experts who have followed her seem to have reached the same conclusion as her Brazilian colleagues. And it is bad news. Disinformation fragments, mutates and reproduces itself in new channels. Disinformation is metastatic, advancing unstoppably despite the work of academics, the media or the social media platforms themselves. Disinformation is here to stay, so all the actors in a democracy, institutions, the press and citizens, must prepare to live with it. And how! According to the estimation of the Superior Electoral Tribunal of Brazil, in the first 11 days of the campaign, nearly 6,000 complaints for false content, 1,600% more than those that arrived two years ago, when the country held municipal elections.

“Social media platforms are failing Brazilian voters,” says a report by Human Rights Watch, for whom the application of policies of moderation and control of electoral advertising is leaking through too many sites. The same document proves that more than 150 videos or live broadcasts on YouTube have discussed with impunity about a non-existent electoral fraud while Meta (Facebook) was sneaking paid publications that questioned the electoral count.

The Brazilian electoral authorities have shown the world their own formula to act when they understood, in the final stretch of the campaign, that social networks were being ineffective or too slow when it came to eliminating disinformation. In a battle against time and virality, they empowered a single person, the president of the Electoral Tribunal, Alexandre de Moraes, to force technology companies to delete a false or hateful message in less than two hours and, subsequently, , also all its possible replicas on other platforms. A chorus of voices has risen against the rapid action protocol because, they say, it flirts with censorship and erodes freedom of expression. Brazil poses a good contemporary debate: should we resign ourselves to endemic misinformation or bet on a regulation adapted to the magnitude of the threat?

Sweet and sour flavors from Brazil