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Podcast Aug 29, 2018

Explaining Brazil #26: The role of social media in Brazilian politics

While 70 percent of the population has access to the Internet, 63 percent still get their news from television, will social media remain this much of a factor as we approach election day?

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The 2018 presidential campaign is underway, and on August 31 candidates will start broadcasting their political ads on television and radio. TV has historically been a major campaigning instrument in Brazil – as 98 percent of households have at least one television set.

This year, however, another screen is set to be a game changer: smartphones. 84 million Brazilians own at least one smartphone- according to Pew Research. Now, social media has emerged as a political tool in Brazil. WhatsApp Messenger has become one of Brazil’s main communication channels.  Candidates from all over the political spectrum are betting big bucks on digital platforms. Especially as the new electoral rules restrict airtime on television and radio.

Social media has already proven its strength during the so-called pre-campaign, pushing far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to the top of all presidential polls – that is, when former president Lula is not on the ballot.

But while 70 percent of the population has access to the Internet, 63 percent still get their news from television, will social media remain this much of a factor as we approach election day?

On this podcast

  • Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.
  • Fernando Vega is the Latin American Social Solutions Manager at comScore, a company specialized in gathering and analyzing data about audiences on several media platforms, especially the internet.


This podcast was produced by Joao Citounadin. He works with advertising and has 6 years of experience with social media. He has worked for the Havas Group in different markets, from Europe to Latin America.

This episode was written by Diogo Rodriguez, a journalist and social scientist. He has contributed to publications such as Folha de S. Paulo, Estado de S. Paulo, Trip, Vida Simples, Galileu, Mundo Estranho, Exame, and Vice, among others. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo.

Maria Martha Bruno edited this podcast. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.

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