WhatsApp Admits to Illegal Mass Messaging in Brazil's 2018

Platforms condemns public groups that are accessed through links


WhatsApp admitted for the first time that the 2018 Brazilian elections used mass messaging through companies that use automated systems.

"During last year's Brazilian election there a mass messaging provider that violated our terms of use to reach large numbers of people," said Ben Supple, WhatsApp global public policy and election manager, in a speech at the Gabo Festival.

Last year Folha revealed the campaign scheme to hire marketing companies that send mass political messages.

One of the Folha articles reported that business supporters of then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) funded mass messages against petista candidate Fernando Haddad, who was defeated and also fined by the TSE for wrongly boosting content unfavorable to his then adversary.

TSE prohibits the use of automation tools such as mass messaging software. Also, as Folha showed, business people hired message blasts for and against candidates, without declaring these expenses to the Electoral Court, which constitutes a campaign finance crime.

At the same event, the WhatsApp executive condemned the platform's public groups accessed through links that distribute political content, mostly related to the Bolsonaro government.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop and mobile device users are seen next to a screen projection of Whatsapp logo REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - REUTERS

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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