Bolsonaro and the Far Right: How Disinformation About COVID-19 Circulates on Facebook in Brazil

Raquel Recuero, Felipe Bonow Soares, Otávio Vinhas, Taiane Volcan, Luís Ricardo Goulart Hüttner, Victória Silva


This article tackles the circulation of disinformation and compares it to fact-checking links about COVID-19 on Facebook in Brazil. Through a mixed-methods approach, we use disinformation and fact-checking links provided by the International Fact-Checking Network/Poynter, which we looked for in CrowdTangle. Using this data set, we explore (1) which types of public groups/pages spread disinformation and fact-checking content on Facebook; (2) the role of political ideology in this process; and (3) the network dynamics of how disinformation and fact-checking circulate on Facebook. Our results show that disinformation tend to circulate more on political pages/groups aligned with the far right and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, on religious and conspiracy theory pages/groups and alternative (hyperpartisan) media. On the other hand, fact-checking circulates more on leftists’ pages/groups. This implicates that the discussion about COVID-19 in Brazil is influenced by a structure of asymmetric polarization, as disinformation spread is fueled by radicalized far-right groups.


disinformation, fact-checking, Facebook, COVID-19

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