Discursive strategies for disinformation on WhatsApp and Twitter during the 2018 Brazilian presidential election
This paper aims to analyze and compare the discursive strategies used to spread and legitimate disinformation on Twitter and WhatsApp during the 2018 Brazilian presidential election. Our case study is the disinformation campaign used to discredit the electronic ballot that was used for the election. In this paper, we use a mixed methods approach that combined critical discourse analysis and a quantitative aggregate approach to discuss a dataset of 53 original tweets and 54 original WhatsApp messages. We focused on identifying the most used strategies in each platform. Our results show that: (1) messages on both platforms used structural strategies to portray urgency and create a negative emotional framing; (2) tweets often framed disinformation as a “rational” explanation; and, (3) while WhatsApp messages frequently relied on authorities and shared conspiracy theories, spreading less truthful stories than tweets.
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