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In Brazil, Lula fights to boost social media presence

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Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is working to boost his social media presence ahead of a presidential election in four months for help before touring Europe in September, a French NGO said on May 24, 2022. (FILES) In this file photo taken on May 01, 2022 former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blows a kiss as he attends a May Day (Labour Day) rally to mark the International Workers´ Day, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is working to boost his social media presence ahead of a presidential election in four months
for help before touring Europe in September, a French NGO said on May 24, 2022. (FILES) In this file photo taken on May 01, 2022 former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva blows a kiss as he attends a May Day (Labour Day) rally to mark the International Workers´ Day, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. – Copyright AFP/File DENIS CHARLET

Jordi MIRO

At a bar in Brasilia, two longtime members of Brazil’s Workers Party retweet messages supporting Luis Inacio Lula da Silva on their cell phones, as part of his campaign’s drive to fight the overwhelming presence of President Jair Bolsonaro on social media.

“We will not stop. Our battle, too, is online,” said Ze Augusto, a retired professor, looking at his screen.

With a little more than four months to go until Brazil’s presidential election, Lula, 76, has a comfortable but declining cushion in the polls.

But on social media he is far behind in popularity to the far-right president, who will probably be his opponent in a run-off on October 30.

When Bolsonaro came to power in 2018, a key tool in his victory was an adept social media campaign run by his son Carlos. It was based on propaganda, disinformation and the political destruction of opponents.

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Since then, Bolsonaro has remained strong on social media, boasting a total of 47.5 million followers on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram and TikTok. That is triple what Lula has.

Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, does not use a cell phone and has taken part in five election campaigns in which social media did not yet exist. His aides decided months ago to go on the counterattack online.

It raised the number of messages the campaign sent and the interactions on its accounts. It also created profiles on new social media like TikTok and won support from famous people in Brazil like the singer Daniela Mercury and a social media influencer named Felipe Neto.

It also launched something called Lulaverso, a campaign website designed for young people, where users can join pro-Lula groups on major social media and share stickers and GIFs of the leftist icon dancing or wearing sunglasses.

– ‘Long ways to go’-

The social media campaign “improved but still has a long ways to go,” Workers Party president Gleisi Hoffmann told the news website G1 two weeks ago.

After Lula officially declared his candidacy this month, the party overhauled the campaign and named as its communications chiefs former lawmaker Rui Falcao and Edinho Silva, who was a government minister under president Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016).

“We are going to create a giant chain of activists and sympathizers and increase our communications means more and more so we can defeat Bolsonaro on every front,” Falcao told AFP.

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Lula’s campaign is doing well in tradtional media outlets. But Bolsonaro’s outreach from his ecosystem of pages and groups on digital platforms goes further because it targets everyday people rather than party members, said Pablo Ortellado, a professor of public policy and management at the University of São Paulo.

The Lula campaign’s communication “is endogenous. It strengthen’s people’s conviction. But it does not manage to punch through the walls of its groups, which have a very defined ideology and political identity,” Ortellado said.

– Avoid fake news –

Bolsonaro and Lula have very different ideas about freedom of expression.

Bolsonaro advocates easing rules governing social media platforms, several of which have erased some of his content on grounds that it spread fake news.

Lula backs regulating social media but has never really gone into detail on how he would do this. And his party works against generating or forwarding false news, via a campaign of “stickers” that warn against and label falsehoods from Bolsonaro supporters.

Brazilian electoral authorities have taken measures to prevent the campaign, which officially begins in August, from becoming another disinformation war, as happened in 2018, in particular on WhatsApp.

“We want to win the election with the truth,” said Ze Augusto.

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Instagram Shares Updated Parents’ Guide in Line with the Return to School

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Instagram Shares Updated Parents’ Guide in Line with the Return to School

With students returning to school, Instagram has shared an updated version of its Parents’ Guide, which provides a full overview of the app’s various privacy and control features, along with notes to help parents provide support and guidance for their kids in the app.

Which may well be critically important – as Instagram explains:

"Some adults make a distinction between teens’ social media lives and their “real lives.” But in reality, the two are closely intertwined. Instagram and other social media apps are where they express themselves, hang out with friends, explore ideas, grow and learn. Like all human interaction, there will be times of joy, kindness and compassion. There will also be moments of drama and anxiety — not necessarily because of the technology, but because that’s the nature of relationships, online and off.”

‘Not necessarily’ because of the technology, but often exacerbated by such.

Indeed, various reports have highlighted the dangers of Instagram, in particular, for teen users, and with new school pressures adding to this, it may be worth downloading and looking through the guide, which is available in 40 regional variations, including different languages.

The guide provides a full overview of Instagram’s various privacy and account safety options and how they work.

Instagram Parents' Guide

As well as details on how users can limit who they share their updates with in the app.

Instagram Parents' Guide

There’s also a section on DM safety, a key area of concern for youngsters.

Instagram Parents' Guide

And tips on how to guide more positive interactions:

Instagram Parents' Guide

Finally, Instagram also provides notes on how to talk about online safety with kids, which could help to open up lines of communication within your family.

Instagram Parents' Guide

There are some valuable and important notes here, and again, with kids now getting back into school life, and readjusting to new norms, now may be the best time to learn about the various tools and functions available to assist.

You can download a local version of Instagram’s Parents’ Guide här.

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