University of São Paulo: Social media monitoring analyzes the political debate to identify authoritarian behaviors

Faced with the approach of the 2022 election campaigns, the repercussion of political debates gained prominence on digital platforms. The Center for the Study of Violence (NEV) carried out a monitoring to observe the consolidation of these means of political communication, identify and understand behaviors favorable to authoritarianism and the rupture of the democratic process. The social media selected for analysis were Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, object of study in the first NEV newsletter.

To monitor engagement, the researchers analyzed the main channels and actors on the topic. “That content is replicated on many other platforms and other social media. So, in this case, it is worth thinking about the weight of social media”, points out Pablo Almada, post-doctoral fellow and researcher responsible for monitoring. On YouTube, videos of the electoral process are concentrated in the News and Politics category, with expressive views of the Electoral Justice channel, which is close to 3 million.

Most election videos are produced by news and communication agencies and traditional media are responsible for about 70% of this content. However, the researcher explains that the public is not restricted to these vehicles: “There are segments of humorist channels that also produced content about the 2022 elections”, he comments. The pluralization of actors in the political discussion is seen on the channel of comedian Danilo Gentili, which exceeds 1.6 million views, according to the bulletin released by NEV.

The contents of well-known portals also attract attention when observing the network. “Important vehicles, already consecrated by the mainstream press, bring an approach that discredits electoral polls. Even the results of the elections, the content of one of the videos points in that direction”, analyzes Natasha Bachini, postdoctoral student and monitoring researcher. CNN, UOL and Band Jornalismo together account for more than two-thirds of the videos published and attract followers and views. Natasha recommends attention to the veracity of information disclosed by these vehicles during the election period.

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The first monitoring bulletin of the Brazilian elections of 2022 revealed the rise of humorous and low-to-medium-sized channels in the political debate. In order to analyze data related to candidates for the Executive and the Federal Legislative, the NEV publishes reports every 15 days. “Next week, a new report will be released on the main hashtags on Instagram related to the first places in the polls of the race to the Plateau”, declares the researcher.

More than 19 million views, 1 million likes and 160 thousand comments of electoral content were recorded in the YouTube bulletin. The 434 videos studied were ranked according to these metrics, with names like Bolsonaro, Ciro Gomes, Moro and Lula being the most frequent in the titles. Electoral polls, the repercussions of candidates’ pronouncements and voter registration appear as the subjects of greatest engagement.

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