Earlier this year, the Political Debate Monitor on Digital Media – an initiative by academics at the University of São Paulo – tried to map the network of websites and Facebook pages directly connected to the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), a far-right organization created by young militants almost four years ago. It managed to find just over 20 active pages that produced, on average, 126 daily posts and generated 150 million interactions (likes, shares, and comments). Now, however, we have found out that MBL’s web was cast far wider.
Reuters revealed that Facebook shut down 196 pages and 87 accounts that were run by MBL senior organizers. Combined, they had more than 500,000 followers. During an event held by Facebook in Curitiba, the company claimed it didn’t shut the pages down due to inappropriate content that may violate their policies. Pages were disabled for their role in “a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation,” as Facebook said, per Reuters.