WhatsApp bans more than 100,000 accounts in Brazil election

WhatsApp bans more than 100,000 accounts in Brazil election

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, won the first round on October 7, getting 46 percent against 29 for Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party that governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016.

Haddad's Workers Party has filed an official complaint with electoral courts, asking them to investigate the allegations of illicit financing for misleading propaganda.

Bolsonaro has denied any knowledge of such a scheme and called on any supporters doing so to stop.

The Social messaging service WhatsApp has now become an important way through which Brazilians keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues.

Brazilian federal police will investigate massive amounts of disinformation circulating on social media against the two candidates vying to become president, Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann has said.

It remains unclear whether the accusations have had any bearing on opinion polls.

The experts stated that Bolsonaro's leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, was "the best alternative" to uphold "Brazilian democracy and the institutions of the Rule of Law", according to the text and list published by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper on Friday.

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Since then, however, the allegations appear to have energized Haddad's campaign.

The party also asked the court to prohibit Bolsonaro from holding elected office for eight years.

There are around 120 million users of the messaging service in Brazil, whose population is 210 million. However, it has come under increasing scrutiny in the country as the main medium for disseminating fake news. It's a test for the social network ahead of midterm elections in the USA later this year.

Reacting to the report, WhatsApp announced Friday that it was taking "immediate legal action to stop companies from sending bulk messages".

Brazil media outlets reported on Thursday that businessmen close to Bolsonaro had concluded contracts with high-tech companies to spread hundreds of thousands of messages via the Whatsapp application, which might have affected the results of the first round of the presidential vote. One of those accounts belongs to Bolsonaro's son, although the ban has since been lifted.

WhatsApp confirmed that it had blocked Flavio Bolsonaro's account for "spam behaviour" in recent days, for reasons unrelated to the Folha report.

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