“There is no longer any doubt about the importance of digital media in elections”

The Jornal do USP no Ar received today (8) Marcio Moretto, professor of the Information Systems course at USP’s School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH), to take stock of the behavior of candidates and supporters of the elections in 2020 , the actions of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) to curb fake news and the role of social networks in elections.

Moretto rescues the picture of the elections in the United States in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected. According to him, at that moment the role and importance of social networks became clearer. “The novelty is that, for the first time, we started to have targeted political advertisements. This is a challenge for democracy: nothing guarantees that there was a homogeneous discourse for all groups ”, he points out.

If there were doubts about the importance of networks, in 2018, in Brazil, it ceases to exist. The professor exemplifies through the campaign of the elected candidate, President Jair Bolsonaro: done almost exclusively on the internet, little TV time, little money due to the few coalitions. “Even the campaign on the streets was hampered by the stabbing episode,” recalls Moretto. “The campaign was carried out almost exclusively on the internet and was nonetheless successful. And it has been known since then that the internet is very important: in 2016 mainly through Facebook, in 2018, in Brazil, through WhatsApp. ”

The professor says that, even though the 2020 elections were very marked by fake news, as well as those of 2016 and 2018, there was an evolution of both sides involved. “The candidates learned the game of virtual campaigns and the regulatory bodies, such as the TSE and even the internet companies themselves, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter , which were under pressure, adapted to this new context,” he says. In the case of the TSE, there was a program to combat disinformation, which demonstrates the concern with digital media in electoral processes: the Court received almost 5,000 complaints from fake news groups.

“I understand that both candidates and regulatory bodies have evolved. There is no longer any doubt about the importance of digital media in the campaign ”, adds Moretto. “We still have the narrative disputes, with the fake news , and the inspection has yet to learn, but there has been a significant evolution.”

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