A coup that circulates through social networks and messengers is disguised as a false petition that consults the public regarding an eventual impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro.
The page was discovered and analyzed by two fact-checking agencies, Agência Lupa and Boatos.org, both of which reached the same result: it is a website with no validity, with questionable methods of operation and with potential for actually be a bait for virtual scams.
The page that circulates mainly through WhatsApp and other social networks is a petition from “peticaopublica.me”, a page already reported as fraudulent and that simulates the interface of other similar and true sites, such as Avaaz and Change.org . The petition itself is a survey that asks the user whether he agrees with Bolsonaro’s impeachment and whether he blames the government for the deaths caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
After answering the questions, the user is invited to share the petition with five contacts on WhatsApp and click on a link to validate the participation.
What are the risks?
The shared petition has no political validity: an impeachment is not initiated on the basis of a petition of the type, but by a formal complaint accepted by the Legislature. Thus, although this is a valid form of protest, the very promise made by the page is already false.
In addition, the domain “.me” is suspect: according to the analysis of the checking agencies, it does not provide transparent data on the operation, it presents controversial numbers of signatures and it contains in the “About Us” section the address of another page of petitions that it has already been off the air precisely due to reports of fraud.
Finally, participation in the petition can make you a victim of virtual scams, such as data theft or simple traffic generation to websites that wish to profit from a cause. So far, there have been no direct scams involving the website in question, but it is possible that it contains loopholes that result in the collection of information about you.