Brazil’s Election Meddling Scandal Won’t Dent Bolsonaro’s Popularity
Serious accusations have emerged that the buddies of Brazilian frontrunner Bolsonaro are illegally funding an election meddling campaign on social media.
According to reports, Bolsonaro was aware that some of his biggest backers were paying millions of dollars to conduct a far-reaching influence operation before the second round of the polls this weekend, which would be illegal under Brazilian law because their contributions in support of his campaign weren’t publicly acknowledged. He claims to have had no idea that this was going on and the government pledged to investigate, but critics believe that the state will just cover up for him and that it doesn’t even have enough time to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into this alleged crime anyhow.
The reason why this is so important is because Bolsonaro is leading by a double-digit margin and looks ready to trounce Workers’ Party candidate Haddad this Sunday, with a lot of his support being attributed to the active efforts of his social media advocates, who it’s now being alleged might have actually been paid for their work and/or could have also just been automated bots. In fact, WhatsApp quietly closed over 100,000 accounts while its parent company Facebook recently did the same with dozens of high-profile others, but that might be inconsequential in terms of altering the overall infowar dynamics on their platforms.
In addition, given “Big Tech’s” bias against right-wing and conservative accounts in the US and Europe, it can’t be discounted that some legitimate ones were also blocked in Brazil, though that’s not to absolve the Bolsonaro campaign of any alleged illegal activity that it might have been engaged in. Moreover, even in the event that they’re guilty as charged, this is unlikely to change the voters’ minds since most of them appear to have already made theirs up by now after the incessant Hybrid War on Brazil pushed many of them to take this candidate’s side more so than any other’s.
If his supporters still back him despite the claims that he’s a “racist”, “fascist”, “misogynist”, “xenophobic”, “white supremacist”, “military puppet”, then adding the comparatively less offensive label of “illegal propagandist” to that list probably won’t make much of a difference and might even be twisted around by his campaign as proof that Trump’s Liberal-Globalist enemies are now targeting the so-called “Tropical Trump” as a proxy war against the leader who Bolsonaro’s praised on numerous occasions. Whatever ends up happening during this Sunday’s second round of voting, it’s undeniable that social media played a disproportionate role in shaping the voters’ perceptions, whether legally or not.