• March 31, 2023

Meta Accused Of Spreading Election Disinformation In Brazil


A report published Saturday revealed that social media giants Meta—Facebook’s parent company—and TikTok are driving traffic to content promoting a military coup to overthrow Brazil’s democracy.

Meta Accused Of Spreading Election Disinformation In Brazil

The report (read below) —entitled Stop the Steal 2.0: How Meta and TikTok Are Promoting a Coup—was published by the San Francisco-based activist group SumOfUs and asserts that “on the eve of the second vote in Brazil’s most important election in decades, Meta and TikTok continue to put the integrity of the election on the line through their disastrous recommendation systems.”

The publication came ahead of Sunday’s second-round contest between far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro—who has said he may not accept the outcome of the election if he loses–and former leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Aggregate polling showed the two candidates in a statistical dead heat on Friday.

According to the new report:

Meta claims that Brazil is a priority region and that the company is committed to enforcing policies and practices that uphold the integrity of the vote. But not only does SumOfUs’ previous research show that the platforms are awash with conspiracy theories about the election, claims of electoral fraud, and calls for a military coup, this research report sets out how Facebook’s recommender systems are actively pushing users towards this content.

Far-right extremists, who are openly agitating for a military coup, are operating freely on Meta’s platforms, and Meta is not only allowing them to spread their message and recruit new members, but the platform’s algorithms are prioritizing anti-democratic groups, accounts, and posts. The report also looked at the role TikTok is playing in tackling the growing problem of election disinformation on its platform, and found its moderation lacking…

The findings confirm civil society organizations’ worst fears, that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are enabling bad actors to organize and recruit new members, just as it did in the U.S. 2020 elections, which ended in violent insurrectionists storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

“At this point, it is safe to say that Meta has become Bolsonaro’s official disinformation machine,” SumOfUs campaign director Flora Rebello Arduini said in a statement. “This is not Meta’s first time wreaking havoc on democracy and Brazilians deserve better from this multi-billion dollar company.”


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