Study on use of bots on social networks is presented to fake news parliamentary inquiry

Work on use of bots at key moments in Brazilian politics supports debate on social networks’ influence on elections
Public Policy
05 December 2019
Study on use of bots on social networks is presented to fake news parliamentary inquiry

The director of Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Department of Public Policy Analysis (FGV DAPP), Marco Aurelio Ruediger, was one of the guests at the 13th meeting of the joint parliamentary inquiry into fake news, held on November 27 in Brasilia. He was invited because of the work done by FGV DAPP regarding the use of automated accounts at key moments in Brazilian politics, such as the presidential elections of 2018 and 2014.

In his presentation, Ruediger mentioned the experience acquired by FGV DAPP in recent elections and the importance of anticipating issues related to next year’s municipal elections. For example, he mentioned demands for measures to be taken by the Superior Electoral Court to deal with disinformation and automated accounts, as well as for adjustments to the General Data Protection Law.

In this context, Ruediger also mentioned a study titled “Bots, social networks and politics in Brazil: illegitimate interference in public debate on the web, risks to democracy and the election process in 2018.” Besides refining the methodology for identifying automated accounts, this study applies this methodology to four cases in which the significant presence of bots was observed.

FGV DAPP’s Digital Democracy Room, a project that is monitoring political debate on the internet, recently launched its second report, updated and containing new cases of illegitimate interference.

The joint parliamentary inquiry into fake news was set up to investigate cyberattacks that harm democracy and public debate, and the use of fake profiles to influence the results of the 2018 elections. It is also looking into cyberbullying against more vulnerable internet users and also against public officials, as well as grooming of children and their encouragement to commit hate crimes and suicide.