Society

Why WhatsApp is Brazil’s go-to political weapon

employed democracy WhatsApp fake news problem is a threat for democracy. Photo: Cliplab/Shutterstock
WhatsApp fake news problem is a threat for democracy. Photo: Cliplab/Shutterstock

Sergio Moro, the judge overseeing the extensive corruption probe Operation Car Wash, did not tell voters in 2017 that blank votes were the only way to stop political corruption. Lula’s planned trip to Ethiopia, a country that does not extradite to Brazil, was for the African Union Summit in January – not to escape jail. Marielle Franco was not married to one of the leaders of drug trafficking gangs.

All of these online rumors transformed from whispers into roars before they were dissected. Globally, fake news gains more traction on social networks than accurate information; one study from MIT...

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