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Lula wants pro-Bolsonaro ‘disinformation system’ blocked

The campaign of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva requested that the Superior Electoral Court block several social media accounts of allies of President Jair Bolsonaro, and that it launch an investigation in order to determine whether and far-right influencers received funds to support the president’s reelection campaign.

In a petition submitted on Sunday, Lula’s campaign requested that social media companies be ordered to block the Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Gettr accounts of the president’s three eldest sons (all of whom are lawmakers) and several other pro- Bolsonaro influencers until the end of the election.

The president’s own accounts are not targets of the lawsuit.

Separately, the petition also requests that the court lift the banking, telephone, and telematics secrecy of 11 pro-Bolsonaro influencers, including the owners of far-right Brasil Paralelo, a video production company that sells revisionist documentaries on Brazilian history.

It also asks the Court to share information from ongoing investigations about so-called “digital militias.”

In all cases, the requests are for an emergency injunction. This means that the Electoral Court’s head, Justice Alexandre de Moraes, could make decisions alone, before the floor gets a chance to review them.

Lula’s campaign argues that Carlos Bolsonaro, a Rio de Janeiro councilman and the president’s second-eldest son, leads to a “disinformation ecosystem” which aims to “criminalize” the Workers’ Party and sow distrust on Brazil’s elections.

The petition identifications dozens of pro-Bolsonaro profiles who are part of this ‘ecosystem,’ and divides them into three roles: content producers, content promoters, and spin doctors.

On Monday, after the petition was submitted, a campaign event for former Infrastructure Minister Tarcísio de Freitas, who is the frontrunner in the São Paulo gubernatorial race, was interrupted after a shootout began in Paraisópolis, one of the biggest favelas in São Paulo city.

Mr. Freitas himself was quick to tweet that he and his staff were “attacked by criminals.” Hundreds of pro-Bolsonaro social media accounts also alleged that Mr. Freitas had been the target of an attempt on his life — allegations which the police and the São Paulo Public Security Department did not confirm.

Hours later, Mr. Freitas denied ever saying he and his team were victims of an attack.

However, on Monday night, President Bolsonaro’s campaign aired an ad nationwide claiming that Mr. Freitas was “attacked by criminals,” despite local authorities not confirming the claim. The incident is under investigation.

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