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Brazilian mobs openly conspired online to pitch huge ‘party’

The map was called “Beach Trip” and was blown up to over 18,000 civilians. telegram Called channel Portuguese“Hunting and Fishing”.

But instead of outdoor recreation tips, there are 43 pins spread across the map. Brazil He pointed to cities where he could find bus transport to the capital, as promoters promised to throw a large “party” on January 8.

“Children and the elderly are not invited,” according to a post circulated on the Telegram channel, which has since been removed. “Police and robbery target shooting, musical chairs, indigenous dances, tag, all games are welcome and only adults can participate.”

The post was one of several thinly-encrypted messages circulating on social media ahead of Sunday’s violent attack on the capital by the former president’s supporters. Jair Bolsonaro They are trying to put the far-right leader back in power.

It also explains how the rampage was organized, how officials missed clues to conspiracies that were supposedly organized and carried out, like the attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago on January 6. It could be an important clue in the fledgling criminal investigation. in plain view.

And like the attacks in the United States, the Brazilian riots have also shown that social media has made it easier than ever for anti-democratic groups to recruit followers and translate online rhetoric into offline action. is showing.

On YouTube, mobs live streaming the mayhem racked up hundreds of thousands of views before a Brazilian judge ordered the social media platform to remove such content. Misleading claims about elections and uprisings can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

But even before Sunday’s riots, Brazil’s social media and private messaging networks were flooded with calls for a final push to overturn Luis Inacio Lula da Silva’s October election.

Most of the online chats referred to the planned rally at Brasilia’s Three Powers Plaza as “Selma’s party.” It’s a play on the Portuguese word ‘selva’, the battle cry used by the Brazilian army.

Participants were told to bring their own masks to protect against “pepper pie in the face”, or pepper spray fired by security forces. I was told to wear the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag instead of red.

“Get your guests ready. The party is going to be a blast,” said the widely circulated post.

“Everything was public,” said David Nemmer, a Brazilian-born University of Virginia professor who studies social media. “They listed the person responsible for the bus with their full name and contact information. They weren’t trying to hide anything.”

Still, it’s unclear to what extent social media played a role in Brazil’s worst attack on democracy in decades. Only a handful of far-right activists showed up at the gas terminal and refinery, which were also identified on the “Beach Trip” map as the location of Sunday’s planned demonstration.

Bruno Fonseca, a journalist at Agencia Publica, a digital investigative journalism outlet, has been tracking the online activities of the pro-Bolsonaro group for years. , said that frequent calls for mobilization may not work.

“It’s hard to tell if something pops out of social media,” said Fonseca, who this week found that a “Selma Party” post went viral to what appeared to be a bot. .

Still, officials could have combined online activity with other intelligence-gathering tools to investigate, for example, a surge in bus traffic to the capital before the attack, he said. He said their inaction may reflect inaction or the security forces’ deep support for Bolsonaro.

One thorny question is why, on a day of turmoil, Bolsonaro supporter and freshly named Anderson Torres, the head of Brasilia’s security services, was in Florida, where his former boss was hiding. Torres was quickly dismissed and Brazil’s Supreme Court ordered his arrest pending investigation. Torres has denied any wrongdoing and said he will return to Brazil to defend himself.

Sunday’s riots came after voters in Brazil were inundated with false and misleading claims ahead of last fall’s election. Much of the content focused on unfounded concerns about electronic voting. Some have addressed threats of violent retaliation if Bolsonaro is defeated.

One of the most popular rally shouts used by Bolsonaro supporters was #BrazilianSpring.

Flora Rebello Arduini, London-based campaign director for SumOfUs, a nonprofit that tracked extremist content before and after the Brazilian election, said: “Social media platforms have played a key role in amplifying the voices of far-right extremists and calling for violent uprisings. Incompetence is no excuse.”

Brazil’s capital on Wednesday put itself on guard against possible new attacks fueled by social media posts, including one circulating in Telegram calling for “massive protests to take back power.” Did.

In response to the criticism, spokespeople for Telegram, YouTube and Facebook said their companies were working to remove content that encouraged further violence.

“Telegram is a platform for free speech and peaceful protest,” Telegram spokeswoman Remi Vaughan said in a statement. APs“Calls for violence are expressly prohibited, and dozens of public communities where such calls were being made were blocked in Brazil last week. It was done in accordance with a court order.”

A YouTube spokesperson said the platform has removed more than 2,500 channels and more than 10,000 videos related to the Brazilian election.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is prioritizing efforts to combat harmful content about the Brazilian election, a company spokesperson told The Associated Press.

Klepper reported from Washington DC

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/brazil-ap-telegram-jair-bolsonaro-miami-b2260636.html Brazilian mobs openly conspired online to pitch huge ‘party’

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