Miami: In Brazil’s capital Brasilia Riots, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro campaigned online for riots and riots, calling on people to gather in the national capital. According to a report by the American news agency The Associated Press (AP), the map named ‘Beach Trip’ was circulated to more than 18,000 members of a public Telegram channel. The name of this Telegram channel was ‘Hunting and Fishing’ in Portuguese. The map of Brazil shared in the Telegram channel marked the locations of 43 cities where buses to the capital Brasilia are available. Promoters enticed people to come to Brasilia by saying that there would be a big ‘party’ on 8 January.
The post circulated on the Telegram channel said, ‘Children and elders are not invited. Invitation only to adults who are willing to participate in all games, including shooting between cops and robbers, musical chairs, indigenous dances, tag, and other games. This post was later removed. The post was one of several coded messages circulating on social media before supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro violently attacked the Supreme Court, parliament, and other installations in the capital Brasilia on January 8, seeking to restore the right-wing leader to power. were demanding.
This telegram post could potentially prove important in the investigation of the violence in Brasilia on 8 January, how the attacks were planned, and how the security officials could not know about the plot at all. It was similar to the US Capitol violence on January 6, 2021, when supporters of Donald Trump surrounded the US Parliament, ransacked, and committed violence. Like the attacks in the US, the riots in Brazil demonstrate how social media makes it much easier for anti-democracy groups to recruit followers. Rioters in Brasilia live-streamed violence, arson, and vandalism on YouTube, which was later removed by court order.
How many roles did social media play in the Brazilian riots?
Misleading claims about the general elections and rebellion in Brazil were also made on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Even before the January 8 riots, social media and private messaging networks in Brazil were flooded with calls for one final push to overturn the October election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva—a move that security agencies seem to have obscured. Outright ignored it. Much of the online conversation referred to the gathering in Brasilia’s Three Powers Plaza as ‘Selma’s party’ – ‘selva’ being a Portuguese word meaning play. This is a war cry used by the Brazilian army. Participants were asked to bring their own face masks to avoid tear gas shells fired by the security forces.
They were also asked to wear the green and yellow colors of the Brazilian flag. The widely circulated post said, “Guests get ready, the party will be a blast.” David Nemer, a native of Brazil and a professor at the University of Virginia who studies social media, said, ‘It was all happening openly. He had shared the names and contacts of the people who arranged buses from all the cities of Brazil to reach Brasilia. They weren’t trying to hide anything. Still, it is unclear to what extent social media were responsible for the worst attack on Brazilian democracy in decades. Because the gas terminals and refineries were marked as Protest sites on January 8 on the beach trip map, very few people were seen there that day.
Social media platforms removed the objectionable content
The Brazilian capital braced itself for the possibility of new attacks on Wednesday by social media posts, including a telegram circulating on Telegram calling for a ‘massive protest to take back power’. But nothing like this happened. Telegram, YouTube, and Facebook said they removed content supporting violence from their platforms. Telegram spokesman Remi Vaughn wrote in a statement to the AP, “Telegram is a platform for free speech and peaceful protest.” But there is no place for violence here. Such content is prohibited. Last week, we closed dozens of such public community channels in Brazil, which were suspected of being involved in violent activities. A spokeswoman for YouTube said that more than 2500 channels and more than 10,000 videos related to the elections in Brazil have been removed from the platform.