Dr Ed Bracho-Polanco, Lecturer in Journalism and Media, wrote an article for The Conversation on how new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro used misinformation and ‘fake news’ as part of his presidential campaign.
In his article, Dr Bracho-Polanco explained how Bolsonaro heavily relied on social media, during his campaign, and more specifically on the platform WhatsApp which includes 120 million active users in Brazil.
Dr Bracho-Polanco particularly denounced the use and creation of hundreds of WhatsApp groups circulating misinforming and misleading content against Bolsonaro’s political rivals.
Concluding, he said: “Bolsonaro’s litany of racist, homophobic, sexist and xenophobic comments is long and well documented – and sadly, the president’s discourse of falsehood and his distribution of misinforming content via social media has not stopped with his election.
“Ironically, having promised during his inaugural speech to steer the country ‘without discrimination and division’, Bolsonaro followed this with a threat to cut government advertising funds to any outlet that he judged to have spread fake news about himself or his policies.”