In the run-up to Brazil’s general elections in October, Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of Communication, Media and Information (FGV ECMI) is beginning a study of social media posts by candidates and political parties. This is a crucial part of efforts to demand transparent political campaigns in Brazil, which has 156 million voters, making it one of the world’s biggest democracies.
PubliElectoral, a tool developed by Argentina’s Association for Civil Rights, identifies political advertisements on social networks, allowing analysis of their authors and whether the related expenses are properly reported to the electoral authorities. The tool has already been used in studies of various election campaigns in Chile, Mexico and Argentina.
Sabrina Almeida, a researcher at FGV ECMI, explains the subject in more detail. “Political advertising on social networks is a strategy increasingly used by political actors and groups. Therefore, the way in which campaign funding and spending in these spaces should be carried out is a topic of increasing political interest, affecting the accountability and transparency that ought to guide political actors and processes in democracies,” she says.
The tool starts to work when people add a special extension to their browser on their computer or download an app on their phone, ensuring that their privacy and security are protected. This allows the tool to identify and analyze political advertising when people browse Facebook.
Civil society needs to carry out projects to demand transparency in relation to political spending and strengthen the exercise of democracy. FGV ECMI can contribute to this, as it has a long track record in digital communication and data analysis. In Brazil, the PubliElectoral app will make it possible to expand information on this topic with a regional perspective.
To find out more about this project, click here.