Last Sunday (15), Fantástico showed an exclusive article about the invention of a virtual candidate to reveal irregular electoral schemes. The fake politician received proposals from a market for the illegal sale of likes, comments and followers, as well as scams “tailored to campaigns that try to deceive voters”, exposing the need to be suspicious of personalities and sources of digital information.
As the material points out, it was enough to create profiles on social networks for offers of overpriced tests of covid-19 and surveys that favored the candidate to appear. His face was assembled from the combination of photo elements available in image banks, as well as those of his family.
Committee and even disclosure items were part of the scheme, and, of course, Virtu Aldo was not registered with the Electoral Court. “Ethics, transparency and honesty” were the motives of the campaign, which did not have any likes or comments on the networks – something that would change soon after, considering that “hundreds of sites” sell interaction packages. This whole scheme, of course, has its value, both charged by companies and the vote itself.
“Let’s remember that voting is an important tool of democracy. So, the risk that we run is very great”, explains Heloisa Starling, professor in the History Department at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in the report. “It is a consequence of ignorance, which leads to manipulation”, adds José Álvaro Moisés, political scientist at the University of São Paulo (USP).
Enemies of Democracy
Sites specializing in candidates for councilor and mayor were also found, even commercializing negative reactions on YouTube – with the potential to discredit opponents -, which goes against the policies for using the platform involved.
In addition, hundreds of thousands of followers are within reach of malicious politicians, with the hijacking of profiles. “The essential recommendation is to be very careful in accepting games and activities, which can manipulate profiles”, says José Milagre, president of the Institute for the Defense of Citizens on the Internet. Praise is not out of the package.
Ready proposals, buying votes … All of this is possible. “The risk to the electoral process is tremendous. Today, it is possible to find codes at affordable prices that simulate people on social networks”, reinforces the executive. Both Google and Facebook, in official notes, condemn the actions.