January 9, 2023 | Bloomberg

Social media giants fall short in Brazil, once again exposing the inequity in mitigating threats to elections

Thousands of pro-Bolsonaro protestors broke into Brazil’s Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace on Sunday, in a conspiracy-movitivated attack on the country’s political buildings, just days after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office.

ISD’s Head of Elections and Digital Integrity, Jiore Craig, spoke to Bloomberg about the role of social media monitoring, or lack of, in the amplification of dangerous election fraud theories, and the serious flaws in monitoring dangerous discourse in non-English languages.

“They [social media companies] don’t focus anywhere like they do in the US,” she said, drawing parallels in the online narratives circling Brazil to those that popped up ahead of elections in Australia and France, where terms like “traitors” and “fraud” and #StoptheSteal were frequently used.

While social media companies claim to have policies in place to address this kind of content, there is also the issue of cross-platform amplification, where something may be created on one platform and then become viral on another.

 “One place you might see the narrative and the other you amplify the narrative. Taking down one doesn’t take down the other,” Jiore said.

Bloomberg points out that a larger issue behind the peddling of these conspiracies is that the very politicians who lose these races are the ones laying the groundwork for stolen-election narratives, in this case Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro, while in the US’s own insurrection it was former president Trump.

The full article is available on Bloomberg.