Federal intervention in Rio triggers 111,600 mentions on Twitter
Public Policy
21 February 2018

Federal intervention in Rio triggers 111,600 mentions on Twitter

An unprecedented study by FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP) analyzed discussions surrounding the announcement of federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro last week.

An unprecedented study by FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP) analyzed discussions surrounding the announcement of federal intervention in Rio de Janeiro last week. The subject was featured in 111,600 Twitter mentions between 10 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, and 4 p.m. on Friday, February 16, peaking around the same time as Brazil’s President spoke on broadcast TV – reaching an average of 61.3 mentions per minute.

The President was the most mentioned public figure, covering 12% of the debate (13,400 posts), due to his decision to intervene in Rio. The second most mentioned public figure was the Rio de Janeiro state governor, featured in 5% of the debate (approximately 5,600 posts).

In general terms, the debate surrounding this event on social media was polarized. Mediated by the traditional press, extensively covering each step of the process of creating the Comando Militar do Leste [Eastern Military Command] to oversee this issue in Rio, two opposing groups started sharing their opinions regarding the issue of security in Brazil. On one side, the group led by actors in favor of military intervention in the state defended the use of measures to protect citizens and the right to bear arms. On the other side, people shared their concerns regarding excessive use of military force and questioned its effectiveness in fighting crime.

The decision was made soon after the Carnaval festivities, during which DAPP surveyed approximately 125,800 mentions regarding violence and security in the city of Rio. An analysis of this debate reveals an overall sense of fear and insecurity among the population. Posts on social media focused mainly on crimes committed in the city and the leave of absence taken by the governor and the mayor during the Carnaval holiday.

It is important to note that, besides posts on the lack of proper security planning, subpar urban planning was also a point of contention among the population, including reports of vandalism, uncleanliness, and urban mobility issues in the city.