Accounts linked to advisers to the Bolsonaro family and supporters were dropped on the social network, after they were accused of acting for ‘to deceive the public’; PT says it has had nine disabled WhatsApp accounts.
Affected in different ways by recent Facebook investigations, bolsonaristas and petistas have published criticisms similar to the social networks controlled by Mark Zuckerberg. In the assessment of both sides, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram would behave like “censors”, would not be “transparent” and would act with political motivation.
Social networks, meanwhile, say that they have reacted to ” abusive behaviors ” of the targeted profiles and groups.
Bolsonaristas suffered a crash last Wednesday (8), when Facebook in the United States announced the overthrow of 88 accounts linked to advisers of the Bolsonaro family and supporters in Brazil – 14 Facebook pages, 35 personal profiles, a group and another 38 Instagram pages.
The announcement was made by Facebook’s cybersecurity board in the U.S. and generated headlines around the world. According to the social network, public employees employed by bolsonaristas are said to be involved “in a non-authentic coordinated behavior”, working in a network “to systematically deceive the domestic public, hiding the identity of the operators”.
To a lesser extent, in late June, WhatsApp deactivated nine accounts linked to the PT for alleged automatic firing of political messages.
In a note, WhatsApp said its “products were not designed to send mass or automated messages, which violate our terms of service. Through our advanced machine learning systems we are able to detect these practices”.
Despite the difference in the scale and severity of the alleged deviations pointed out by the American company, politicians as antagonistic as federal deputies Eduardo Bolsonaro and Gleisi Hoffmann surprised followers by joining in criticizing Facebook.
The President’s son Jair Bolsonaro criticizes Facebook for acting arbitrarily, without transparency about what it defines as “hate speech”.
“Even without defining what a hate crime is, Mark Zuckemberg’s (sic) network excluded several conservative profiles on Facebook and Instagram,” criticized Eduardo Bolsonaro on Twitter.
“All of this hitchhikes, and also hitchhikes, the narrative of the STF and the 3rd round in the TSE, which do not recognize the spontaneous movement that elected Bolsonaro and bolsonaristas in 2018, preferring to believe in the invention that there is an architectured network behind this movement “, continued the deputy.
Like his father and brothers Flavio and Carlos, Eduardo Bolsonaro employs one of the civil servants appointed by Facebook as an operator of false profiles and a propagator of untrue news.
Paulo Eduardo Lopes, known as Paulo Chuchu, says in his social networks that he has worked for the Bolsonaro family for five years. Currently based in Eduardo Bolsonaro’s office, he is identified by the investigation published by Facebook as “one of the main operators of the network”.
Chuchu, also leader of the Alliance for Brazil, the party that the president wants to create in São Bernardo do Campo, receives a salary of R $ 7,800, according to the Transparency Portal.
The investigation points out that Paulo Chuchu would be responsible for The Brazilian Post, a supposed news site that did not report the link with the presidential family, but advertised the new party and attacked rivals as if it were an independent vehicle. The pages were deleted on Instagram and Facebook.
The investigation counted on the participation of the Atlantic Council study center, whose forensic laboratory analyzed the pages before they were dropped by the platform and investigated the network of accounts and false news. The investigation also points out Tercio Arnaud Tomaz, special advisor to the Presidency of the Republic, as administrator of an Instagram account accused of mixing “half-truths” to reach false conclusions in the dissemination of content.
“The (network) activity included creating fictional people pretending to be reporters, publishing content and managing pages pretending to be news outlets. The content published was about local news and events, including politics and elections, political memes, criticism of political opposition, media organizations and journalists, and more recently about the coronavirus pandemic, “says the Facebook statement.
On the other hand, the PT national president and federal deputy for Paraná Gleisi Hoffmann also criticized the networks controlled by Zuckerberg.
“Without explanation or warning, WhatsApp suspended the PT channel for distributing news, legitimate and voluntarily consented by users. We sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking for clarification. It is very strange what is happening,” said the parliamentarian.
In a note, the PT says the party’s WhatsApp channels were censored. According to the party’s communications secretary, “the caption was prevented from defending itself against any allegations”.
“The lack of an official response to our June 26 statement indicates a lack of transparency in the relationship between WhatsApp and Facebook with their customers, and the blocking itself undermines our rights as users of the application,” Gleisi said in a note.
“What is happening is serious. I want to publicly denounce Facebook’s arbitrary blocking and lack of transparency.”
In a note sent to the report, WhatsApp in Brazil said that exclusions are standard on the platform.
“We constantly ban accounts for abusive behavior: every month, more than 2 million accounts are banned globally. We are committed to reinforcing the private nature of the service and keeping users safe from abuse. We will continue to ban accounts used to send mass messages or automated and we will further assess our legal options against companies offering these services, as we have done in the past in Brazil, “said a spokesman for the application.
PT says that the channel, called “Zap do PT”, was created to disseminate institutional information to affiliates, who in turn voluntarily consented to receive the information.
“The launch of this channel has been made public, including through other official WhatsApp channels,” says the party.