Article on fake news receives honorable mention from Brazilian Association of Election Researchers

Study titled “I have no proof: Ballot box fraud and voting intentions in Brazil” analyzed the likelihood of voters believing in ballot box fraud and how this affected election results.
Comunicação
26 October 2023
Article on fake news receives honorable mention from Brazilian Association of Election Researchers

Three professors and researchers at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of Communication, Media and Information (FGV ECMI), Victor Piaia, Sabrina Oliveira and Denisson Santos, received an honorable mention in an awards scheme recently conducted by the Brazilian Association of Election Researchers (Abrapel) for their article “I have no proof: Ballot box fraud and voting intentions in Brazil,” which addressed the issue of fake news in elections.

The study analyzed the likelihood of voters believing in fraud at the polls and how this affected election results. According to the research, people who voted for Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 were significantly more likely to believe in ballot box fraud. In addition, the researchers concluded that the more likely voters were to believe this narrative, the less likely they were to vote for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Researcher Denisson da Silva Santos explains how the article was produced. “We took part in a call for papers, which stipulated that we would have to empirically explore data generated in recent elections. To explore this data, we started with the idea of investigating the role of fake news in the electoral process and outcomes. In the article, we focused on belief in ballot box fraud. We estimated the probability of believing in ballot box fraud and then measured the relationship between this probability of believing in ballot box fraud and voting,” he says.

The article represents a significant advance in the study of fake news in the electoral context and sheds light on how false information can shape the destiny of nations. The work exemplifies the potential of academic research to address critical challenges of the information age and provides a basis for future studies and policies aimed at protecting the integrity of the democratic process.

“It’s a research agenda that we here at FGV ECMI have been working on for some time. Along with fellow researchers Denisson Santos and Victor Piaia, I saw the 2022 Abrapel Campaign Thermometer Awards as an opportunity to develop this discussion linking electoral distrust, disinformation and digital mobilization processes. These are themes that have gained prominence in Brazil in recent years. The novelty of this work concerns the political use of disinformation and its influence on votes. We were pleased with the result and very happy with the award,” says Professor Sabrina Oliveira.

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