Brazil’s Electoral Tribunal has ordered Facebook to delete 38 accounts for disseminating verifiably false information targeting Workers’ Party (PT) vice presidential candidate Manuela D’Avila.
On Monday, the court ruled in favor of the Happy People Again Coalition, which supports PT presidential candidate Fernando Haddad and his running mate, to have a video and the associated accounts deleted. According to the legal team for the Happy People Again Coalition, a previous judge had ruled for the video attacking D’Avila to be deleted, however, users continued posting it on social media.
The contested video shows hypersexualized images of children and an anti-homophobia speech by D’Avila, suggesting she supports the sexualization of children. The video is one feature of an anti-progressive campaign during Brazil’s presidential election, which supports hate speech against members of the LGBT community and persons supporting their fight for quality. The campaign is largely fueled by the candidacy of Jair Bolsonaro, who has used conservatives’ fears on so-called “gender ideology” to portray his rivals as a threat to morality and family values.
Members of the far-right-wing candidate's supporter base have also used material produced by the country's Education Ministry under the presidency of Dilma Rousseff, which sought to fight homophobia in Brazil’s schools, to support their allegations. The material, first produced in 2011, was never distributed due to pressure from religious and conservative sectors.
In this tweet, a Bolsonaro supporter shows a man with a PT shirt and the education material, called here a "gay kit" with the caption "down the throat."
A similar trend can be seen across Latin America with groups and individuals, who claim to oppose “gender ideology,” leading campaigns against members of the LGBT community and their allies due to recent victories for the inclusion and protection of LGBTIQ groups, who have historically been marginalized and targeted by the societies and states.
The ruling represents the second time the tribunal has ruled on taking down fake news targeting the PT. On Friday, Judge Carlos Horbach ordered the deletion of over 50 posts and publications from the platform.
In the latest case, Judge Sergio Banhos authorized the removal of “untrue and slanderous statements … which constitute an offense to the honor and a substantial aggression and attack” on candidates.
Facebook said it would abide by the ruling and has already removed the links. The court has also ruled the social media site must reveal the identity of the accounts’ users to include them in the legal process.
The first round of votes on Oct. 7 saw Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) obtaining 46 percent of votes with Haddad second on 29.2 percent.