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(The New York Times)   Thanks, social media, you've really been a farking boon to humanity   (nytimes.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Supreme Court of the United States, supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro, direction of the Supreme Federal Court building, right supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, social media accounts, President of the United States, Mr. Bolsonaro, fake news  
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1974 clicks; posted to Politics » on 07 Aug 2020 at 10:12 PM (6 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-08-07 6:41:42 PM  
Anyone have the nonpaywall text?
 
2020-08-07 8:07:43 PM  
Brazil's Troll Army Moves Into the Streets

President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies have seeded online hatred against the institutions that defend democracy. Now the outrage is spilling beyond the internet.

By Patrícia Campos Mello
Ms. Campos Mello is a Brazilian journalist.
Aug. 4, 2020

SÃO PAULO, Brazil - On June 13, members of "Brazil's 300," a militia of radical far-right supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, launched fireworks in the direction of the Supreme Federal Court building in Brasília, simulating a bombing. "Get ready, Supreme [Court] bandits ... you are leading the country to communism," one of the leaders, who broadcast the protest live, said. "It's over, damn it!," another protester said, echoing the words the president had used to condemn an investigation by the Supreme Court against some of his supporters, who are engaged in disinformation campaigns and threats against the justices.
Where did this hatred of Brazil's highest court come from?

In the months leading up to the fireworks incident, thousands of social media accounts, many of them fakes linked to supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro or far-right bloggers, posted threats against the Supreme Court justices. They called for the court to be abolished, or for a return to a military dictatorship. One of the president's followers even talked of killing and dismembering the justices and their families. It was only a matter of time before the animosity spilled into the street.

This toxic environment has been fomented by what Brazilians call the "office of hate," an operation run by advisers to the president, who support a network of pro-Bolsonaro blogs and social media accounts that spread fake news and attack journalists, politicians, artists and media outlets that are critical of the president. The office of hate does not have an official title or budget - but its work is subsidized with taxpayer money. It's unclear how many people work for this office, or who they are. In fact, Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies deny that it exists. But the seeds of hatred and division it is sowing threaten to undo our democracy.

The Bolsonaro administration is currently facing three investigations directly linked to this hate machine. One Supreme Court inquiry is investigating attacks on members of the court financed by business leaders and disseminated by the pro-Bolsonaro network, while another is examining the financing of demonstrations calling for the closing of Congress and the judiciary. Four inquiries in the Superior Electoral Court are looking into the use of mass-messaging disinformation and defamation campaigns through WhatsApp during the 2018 election campaign, which was allegedly funded by business leaders.

On July 8, Facebook removed dozens of accounts, some used by employees of Mr. Bolsonaro and his sons. Tércio Arnaud Tomaz, a special adviser to Mr. Bolsonaro, who is believed to run the office of hate, administered some of the accounts.

I am sadly all too familiar with the office of hate. For the past two years, I have been covering disinformation and politics. I also became one of its targets in 2018, when I exposed in the newspaper Folha de São Paulo that business leaders had been paying for the dissemination of millions of fake messages via WhatsApp to influence the presidential election that year.

As a result, I have faced a violent onslaught of crude threats and personal attacks. Trolls and even politicians have shared memes where my face appears in pornographic montages in which I am referred to as a prostitute. People send me messages that say I should be raped. I am suing Mr. Bolsonaro, his son Eduardo, and a pro-Bolsonaro blogger for moral damages for repeatedly stating or implying that I offer sex in exchange for scoops.
I am not alone. Many respected female journalists in Brazil have also been the target of misogynistic attacks. The press, along with the courts and Congress, is one of the last barriers containing the president. But I'm not sure for how much longer we will be able to resist Mr. Bolsonaro and his followers. The increasingly aggressive rhetoric and actions on the part of the president, his children, and allies serve as a green light for pro-Bolsonaro militias to progress from insults to injury.

On May 25, journalists were subjected to a vicious torrent of abuse from his supporters at the presidential residence in Brasília. Footage taken that day shows reporters being called extortionists and crooks. One woman is seen shouting: "Scum! Trash! Rats! Bolsonaro until 2050! Rotten press! Communists!"
Journalists, of course, are not the only ones being targeted. Over the last year, the office of hate has pitted Brazilians against one another, and against those who have served as checks and balances against Mr. Bolsonaro's authoritarian rise. It has eroded their trust in the institutions designed to protect the county's democracy.

The group was behind a smear campaign that labeled Sergio Moro, the lead judge of Brazil's landmark Car Wash corruption investigation and the former star justice minister, as a "traitor" and "communist." Mr. Moro resigned in protest in April, and denounced the president's meddling in a Federal Police investigation to shield his sons and allies from criminal investigations. Shortly after he quit, memes threatening Mr. Moro flooded social media from fake accounts.

With the spread of the coronavirus, fake news and bogus cures began to proliferate on social media, often via federal lawmakers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Mr. Bolsonaro has thwarted social distancing guidelines put in place by governors. Accounts linked to advisers like Mr. Arnaud Tomaz claimed that the reaction to Covid-19 was exaggerated and that hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug heavily promoted by Mr. Bolsonaro as a coronavirus cure, could kill the virus.

In April, the government created the "Scoreboard of Life," on Facebook and Twitter, which logged only the number of patients who have recovered. Then in June, the Ministry of Health removed the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths since the pandemic's onset. Instead, a chart showed only the cases and deaths reported in the previous 24 hours. The Supreme Court later ordered the government to stop concealing data.

But the coronavirus is not deterred by political agendas. The "little flu," as Mr. Bolsonaro has referred to the virus that he and his wife contracted in July, has already killed more than 94,000 Brazilians - the second-highest death toll in the world. The president's fake news campaign has sent thousands of people to an early grave.

Beyond smear and disinformation campaigns, the office of hate's purpose is far more nefarious: to weaken Brazil's democratic institutions. Investigations by the prosecutor general revealed that some pro-Bolsonaro legislators are spending cabinet funds on marketing agencies that use social media to promote protests against the Supreme Court and Congress, and in favor of military intervention in politics.

This incitement is intended to convince supporters that Supreme Court justices are dictators, and that the press and Congress are preventing the president from governing, and are plotting a coup. He may be laying the groundwork to justify a military intervention on his behalf. And in a young democracy like Brazil, institutions can be more fragile than they appear.

Though Mr. Bolsonaro was democratically elected, he has professed admiration for the military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Long before he ran for president, he said a civil war would do the job that the military regime didn't. He also said he would shut down Congress if he were president. During the 2018 presidential elections, his sons and followers printed T-shirts with the face of Col. Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the dictatorship's master torturer - a figure celebrated by the president.

Mr. Bolsonaro has tried to make good on his vision. In an effort to bypass Congress, he has signed a record number of executive orders and bills designed to do away with the independence of public universities, which he describes as dens of communism; restrict access to information, weaken unions and newspapers. He has threatened to disobey the judiciary's rulings.

He has said that he wants to arm the entire population, so that people can defend themselves against the "dictatorship" of the Supreme Court and governors. "I want everybody to have weapons because an armed population will never be turned into slaves," he said during a cabinet meeting in May. He later signed an executive order making it easier to import guns and increasing the amount of ammunition a person can buy in a year. In any functioning democracy, all this would amount to a call for insurrection.
The president and his cronies would like nothing more than to silence all of those who shine light on the darkest recesses of his government.

This incitement is intended to convince supporters that Supreme Court justices are dictators, and that the press and Congress are preventing the president from governing and plotting a coup. Attacks such as the one against the Supreme Court and the aggression against a photojournalist in a protest against Congress and in favor of military coup are a sign that the office of hate is somehow succeeding in its call to insurrection.

Last Wednesday, two men in a car outfitted with speakers showed up outside the home of Felipe Neto, an actor, writer and extremely popular YouTube star. They accused Mr. Neto of destroying the "most important institution of all, which is the family," in an effort to intimidate the actor, writer and popular YouTuber. One of the men who threatened him had participated in the fireworks shooting at the Supreme Court in Brasilía carried out by Brazil's 300. Days earlier, Mr. Neto called Mr. Bolsonaro "the worst pandemic president" in a video that ran in The New York Times Opinion section. The attack is yet another example of how the vitriol propagated by office of hate is increasingly extending beyond the internet.

If there is any hope for our young democracy, we must remain vigilant and continue to hold this government accountable. It's not just lives of Brazilians that are at stake, but the very institutions - Congress, the judiciary, academia and the media - that for the time being have managed to forestall the rise of authoritarianism.

Patrícia Campos Mello (@camposmello) is a journalist at the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo and the author of the forthcoming "Máquina do ódio," about disinformation campaigns and Bolsonaro. This article was translated by Erin Goodman from the Portuguese.
 
2020-08-07 10:15:46 PM  
Burn it down and salt the earth
 
2020-08-07 10:16:22 PM  
*sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?
 
2020-08-07 10:19:02 PM  
Glenn Greenwald must be pissed. His employers found cheaper labor.
 
2020-08-07 10:19:06 PM  

qorkfiend: Burn it down and salt the earth


Yeah, Bolsonaro is working on that in the Amazon.
 
2020-08-07 10:21:23 PM  

squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?


azquotes.comView Full Size
 
2020-08-07 10:23:35 PM  

squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?


Because honor is based on violence used to enforce slavery the people who benefit largely can't see, thereby ensuring more fascists are always arising to keep slave economies draining wealth to keep the many peasants who wish to treat each other like lords or aristocrats, but without having to actually raise armies and fight themselves.

Nothing could be more lazy than fascism.
 
2020-08-07 10:26:04 PM  
'Coming up at 11 a Rick Romero special report... Social media is cancer..."
 
2020-08-07 10:26:43 PM  

inglixthemad: 'Coming up at 11 a Rick Romero special report... Social media is cancer..."


Yeah but there is a cure for social media.
 
2020-08-07 10:29:52 PM  

omg bbq: inglixthemad: 'Coming up at 11 a Rick Romero special report... Social media is cancer..."

Yeah but there is a cure for social media.


Not to use it? I've been not using it for a long time... ever in fact.
 
2020-08-07 10:44:23 PM  

squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?


Because that's about the point there the previous generation who had to beat fascism back into the ground are retired by old age and death.

As we all know, conservatives don't learn from something that doesn't directly impact them so that's the point where a horrifying number of new conservatives start thinking fascism is a good idea - because it hasn't directly impacted their immediate family. And as you say, they sometimes end up having to be... forcibly disabused of the notion.
 
2020-08-07 10:44:57 PM  

ThoughtsofaFool: squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?

[azquotes.com image 850x400]


Holding those who commit crimes against humanity as noble and honorable for winning brings a culture of the worst in humans.  So as long as we continue to celebrate the horrible, as if America actually killed everyone else and everyone forgot, and the same goes with everyone who committed some genocide or another.

Unless you actually kill them all, that blood debt will exist, and so to will it be remembered by any who was related to those people.  And so, as long as you can double standardize genocide, what can't you then defend? 

What is worse?  You can defend anything.  Corruption, pedophelia, murder, slavery, so long as you win.

Same with the Aztecs.  For if not for the blood debts they incurred, there would not be the will to help the Spanish.

And so now America are like the Aztecs, incurring blood debt after blood debt.  For example, to point out the Aztecs would point out to thousands of years ago.  To point out the American treaties with Native Americans for example, would ring true today as much as over a century ago, hence why it is not just some forgotten past, but still exists.

However, there is little point to debating those who wish to keep the status quo, hence why I prefer thread shiatting.  There's no effort really worth saving, but there is alot in providing the same horrible energy that preoccupy anyone looking to justify anything.

Call it an interest on blood debt.
 
2020-08-07 10:47:47 PM  
Trump is watching and taking lessons.
 
2020-08-07 10:53:03 PM  
Brazil was f*cked up long before the Internet
 
2020-08-07 11:06:40 PM  
Well... some of that was uncomfortably familiar.
 
2020-08-07 11:17:44 PM  
Still hoping.  I search for "is bolsonaro dead" every so often.  Did find this:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo​r​ld/americas/jair-bolsonaro-coronavirus​-bird-bite-brazil-rhea-emu-quarantine-​a9621041.html
So good to see his life continues to be awful and pathetic.
 
2020-08-07 11:19:07 PM  

inglixthemad: omg bbq: inglixthemad: 'Coming up at 11 a Rick Romero special report... Social media is cancer..."

Yeah but there is a cure for social media.

Not to use it? I've been not using it for a long time... ever in fact.


That or stop using it.

It was super useful for me to keep in touch with friends who were not really my friends back in the day. Spoiler alert: friends stay in touch through other means.

I wised up. This is the most online socializing I ever get and life is better.
 
2020-08-07 11:21:19 PM  
It's rather surprising how many people want to live under a military dictatorship. I hope Brazil enjoyed democracy for that brief period of time because it's over.
 
2020-08-07 11:28:04 PM  

whatshisname: Brazil was f*cked up long before the Internet


It's the economic powerhouse of tomorrow.

And always will be.
 
2020-08-08 12:09:10 AM  

squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?


Just long enough for everyone to forget, despite all the promises to never forget
 
2020-08-08 12:16:12 AM  
We were seriously unprepared as a society for the technological advances of the last two decades and our leaders have been mostly elderly rich people who don't understand how to legislate any of it.
 
2020-08-08 12:22:28 AM  

TomDooley: Still hoping.  I search for "is bolsonaro dead" every so often.  Did find this:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/wor​ld/americas/jair-bolsonaro-coronavirus​-bird-bite-brazil-rhea-emu-quarantine-​a9621041.html
So good to see his life continues to be awful and pathetic.


I do that same search, but the name I enter isn't Bolsonaro. It's closer to home.
 
2020-08-08 2:10:35 AM  

squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?


People suck?
 
2020-08-08 3:39:30 AM  
"Thanks, social media, you've really been a farking boon to humanity," subby posted on Fark.com without an inkling of self awareness.
 
2020-08-08 4:14:35 AM  
If the previous government didn't have to have the boondoggles of the world cup and Olympics and bankrupt the country you have to wonder if the fascists would have gotten control.
 
2020-08-08 10:06:37 AM  

ThoughtsofaFool: squirrelinator: *sigh*

I guess we have to beat fascism and conservatism back into the ground again. Why does this come up every 50 - 60 years?

[azquotes.com image 850x400]


The cost is cheaper and you don't have to pay as often if you don't pussy around.

"With malice toward none, with charity for all...."

"He's a Nazi, but he's also a German-fluent anti-Communist, so keep him in office....."

"Muh Heritage...."
 
2020-08-08 1:21:03 PM  
Oh and reported for using the ethnic slur "boon".

/12.7% joking
//if the upright ok symbol is indicative of being pro-nazi, 'boon' is *at least as indicative* of being a racist
///didn't report, meh. haven't expected integrity around here for quite a few years
 
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