2022 Race

Court orders removal of Bolsonaro electoral disinformation videos

electoral President Bolsonaro greets foreign diplomats after giving a presentation laden with disinformation. Photo: Clauber Cleber Caetano/PR
President Bolsonaro greets foreign diplomats after giving a presentation laden with disinformation. Photo: Clauber Cleber Caetano/PR

Videos of a July 18 meeting in which President Jair Bolsonaro hosted foreign ambassadors to give them a disinformation-laden presentation about the country’s electoral system will have to be removed from the internet. 

The Superior Electoral Court ordered the president’s social media channels, as well as the government’s, to take down the videos from their accounts on Google, Instagram, and Facebook. YouTube had already removed recordings of the event in early August for violating its electoral integrity policy. 

“No one is allowed to convey out-of-context information with baseless attacks on the electronic voting system and on democracy itself, instilling in the electorate a false idea of voter ​​fraud,” said Mauro Campbell, Brazil’s electoral inspector general.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s presentation at his official residence was a hodgepodge of worn-out conspiracy theories about how Brazil’s electronic voting machines, which are not connected to the internet, can be hacked — and results altered. 

The ruling, however, will have a limited effect on curbing disinformation, as it concerns solely the official channels used by the government and President Bolsonaro. As we discussed last month, when similar decisions had been made in the past, netizens simply posted the same videos on different channels.