WhatsApp bans more than 100000 accounts in Brazil election

22 Octobre, 2018, 01:32 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Jair Bolsonaro has run his campaign largely through social media avoiding major television debates

The announcement came after the electoral court said it would look into allegations Bolsonaro had illegally sanctioned several defamatory mass messaging attacks via WhatsApp in an attempt to undermine his rival.

The Social messaging service WhatsApp has now become an important way through which Brazilians keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues.

Bolsonaro has denied any knowledge of such a scheme and called on any supporters doing so to stop.

On Thursday, the latter accused his competitor of receiving illegal and undeclared corporate donations after local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported companies are paying for a mass social media campaign against Mr Haddad. The opposition claims the campaigns are being bankrolled by pro-Bolsonaro businessmen at the candidate's behest.

Brazilian federal police will investigate massive amounts of disinformation circulating on social media against the two candidates vying to become president, Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann has said.

It is unclear what effect, if any, the accusations will have on opinion polls. Bolsonaro received 46.03 percent of the votes while his rival Fernando Haddad got 29.28 percent of the ballots.

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Since then, however, the allegations appear to have energized Haddad's campaign.

WhatsApp has more than 120 million users in Brazil, a country of almost 210 million, rivaling the reach of Facebook's main platform in one of the company's biggest global markets. However, it has come under increasing scrutiny in the country as the main medium for disseminating fake news.

The app is owned by Facebook, which is under scrutiny after revelations of organized abuse of social media in 2016 to sway public opinion in the United States presidential election and the Brexit referendum in Britain.

WhatsApp said on Friday it was "taking immediate legal action to stop companies from sending bulk messages", including cease and desist letters to the companies in question.

The tech company said previously it had banned hundreds of thousands of accounts inside Brazil found to have engaged in spam or automated "bot" behavior ahead of the election. Flavio Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, adding that the ban had since been lifted.

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