Facebook closes 'spam' pages, accounts helping Brazil presidential candidate

October 23, 2018
Facebook says it has closed down numerous pages and accounts for posting spam aimed at helping Brazil presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Social media platform Facebook has closed 68 pages and 43 accounts linked to a marketing group believed to be promoting the chances of Brazilian right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Facebook issued a statement saying it had acted against the pages and accounts linked to Raposos Fernandes Associates (RFA) "for violating our misrepresentation and spam policies."

"The people behind RFA created Pages using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names," and then "used those Pages to post massive amounts of clickbait intended to direct people to websites that are... ad farms," added the statement.

It insisted that the pages and accounts were deleted for posting spam rather than because of "the type of content they were posting."

O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported 10 days ago that the RFA accounts formed a massive network of support for Bolsonaro, who faces leftwing candidate Fernando Haddad in a second round runoff on Sunday.

Those pages generated 12.6 million interactions during the month leading up to the newspaper's article, O Estado said, far more than the interactions recorded by international superstars such as footballer Neymar.

Having taken top spot with 46 percent of the vote in the first round of elections just over two weeks ago, Bolsonaro leads Haddad by 18 points in the latest polls, thanks in no small part to an impressive presence.

Unable to campaign since the beginning of September when he was hospitalized following a shocking public attack in which he was stabbed in the abdomen, Bolsonaro has conducted almost his entire presidential bid online, where he has 14 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, compared to just 2.8 million for Haddad.

Last week, though, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper claimed millions of pro-Bolsonaro WhatsApp messages had been sent out just before the October 7 first round of elections with the complicity of various businesses.

If proved true, that would be a crime as businesses have been banned from financing electoral campaigns since 2015.

Brazil's top electoral court and the federal police have opened an investigation, while Haddad has called for Bolsonaro to be disqualified.

But the rightwing candidate's loyalists have also accused Haddad's Workers' Party of publishing false information during the often bitter and polarized campaign.

Explore further: WhatsApp tells companies to stop spam amid Brazil elections

Related Stories

Top Brazilian paper to stop publishing on Facebook

February 9, 2018

One of Brazil's top newspapers, the Folha de S. Paulo, announced Thursday it would stop publishing on its Facebook page after the social network announced it would give personal content more visibility.

Recommended for you

Pushing lithium ion batteries to the next performance level

December 13, 2018

Conventional lithium ion batteries, such as those widely used in smartphones and notebooks, have reached performance limits. Materials chemist Freddy Kleitz from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna and international ...

Uber filed paperwork for IPO: report

December 8, 2018

Ride-share company Uber quietly filed paperwork this week for its initial public offering, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.