An epidemic of fake news is sweeping the globe. Well beyond the much discussed Russian interference in the U.S. election of Donald Trump, it is a concern that every country will likely face. Brazil is no exception.

Bruno Fagali, a Brazilian attorney specializing in compliance and ethics, works with advertising agencies to develop corporate integrity programs. He works as corporate integrity manager at Nova/SB. As corruption scandals sweep Brazil, these programs are meant to deal with the agencies’ relationship to the political class. Though clearly needed, the reforms won’t address the promulgation of fake news by sources outside the mainstream.

According to Bruno Fagali, based out of São Paulo, more than 1200 bots, or automated profiles, functioned during the 2014 Brazilian Presidential election to generate and disperse false and manipulative content around the internet. The Superior Electoral Court, or TSE, of Brazil has begun to grapple with these concerns. On his blog, Bruno Fagali notes that the TSE’s Consultative Council on Internet and Elections is working to study the issue of fake news, share opinions, and develop a framework to combat this issue. The problem will affect elections well outside presidential politics too, and it is about to get much worse.


A study from M.I.T. released last month, according to Bruno Fagali, found that 70% of news shared on Twitter is faked. Even more stunning, the vast majority of false stories are shared not by bots, as is assumed, but by real people. If that doesn’t cause genuine concern then the rise of the deep fakes may.

The so-called deep fakes are videos created at the hands of amateurs with access to cheap, crowd-sourced video editing tools found on the internet. Born out of the desire to create celebrity-based pornography, with a few clicks anyone now has the capability to place the heads of well-known persons, like politicians, into any video of their choosing. The videos are simple to make and possess a look of legitimacy, making them difficult to identify. Bruno Fagali suggests that if we hope to combat this rapid spread of doctored news, we need public policies built around creating awareness.

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