21 Aug

False statements about gender inequality mark the debate

Although few in number, automated profiles were responsible for around 12.6 thousand interactions – approximately 2% of the retweets registered

Updated 20 de September, 2018 at 11:15 am

The second presidential debate of 2018, broadcast by RedeTV! last Friday (08/17), had a low participation of automated accounts compared to the total number of interactions on the network, with 278 bots. However, these bots were responsible for 12.6 thousand interactions (2% of the retweets) – a significant volume given the amount of publications about the debate. Regarding the spread of false information and news, the statements about the job market for women were a highlight and were tied to the increase in references to candidate Marina Silva, who gained space on the network after her clash with Jair Bolsonaro.

Similarly to what happened at the debate broadcast on Band, a question by Jair Bolsonaro about the suspected “removal” of hashtags from the trending topics had a notable repercussion on Twitter. However, there was no repercussion of news or links on the social networks regarding his complaint.

Analysis of automated profiles

“False” information stated by candidates

Agência Lupa checked the statements made by the candidates during the debate and classified six utterances as false. Among those, the ones regarding the inequality between men and women in the job market were highlighted on Twitter. Despite being used to a low level of engagement on the networks, Marina saw mentions to her name on Twitter peak after the debate at RedeTV, especially due to her clash with Jair Bolsonaro involving this theme, which accounted for 75% of the mentions to the candidate. Summing up the mentions to the two presidential hopefuls, we identified 354.4 thousand publications about the controversy during the debate.

The false statement by Bolsonaro that he has never defended women earning less than men and Marina’s reaction to it prompted 23.5 direct references, or almost 7% of all the references to the candidates – although this discussion is indirectly related to other arguments about the clash. Most of the main mentions accuse Bolsonaro of having lied. Around 3 thousand tweets shared a link to an interview that denied Bolsonaro’s statement. However, some users (especially women) defended the candidate and stated that wage inequality was not real, but only an attempt by Marina to be seen as a victim.

Henrique Meirelles’ statement that 76% of women with the same time and qualification and in the same position do not earn the same wage as men is also incorrect according to Agência Lupa’s fact checking, and prompted 1,316 references to the MDB candidate. Among the most retweeted posts are critical comments of his position – not due to the incorrect data, but due to the audience’s interpretation that this was an attempt to move closer to social movements, which is contradictory to his political trajectory. There were also many statements that there is supposedly no gender inequality in the job market, contrary to what was stated by Meirelles.


Regarding the economy, the repercussion of the candidates’ statements considered to be false during the debate at RedeTV! was low. Ciro’s statement that the “leadership at São Paulo” has always been against the creation of the VAT – also considered false – did not mobilize any significant debate in the 48h analyzed. There were 755 references to this subject, summing up mentions associated with Geraldo Alckmin and with Ciro. When related only to Alckmin, the publications were divided into those supporting the measure and those “skeptical” about its effectiveness. When related only to Ciro, there was a predominance of posts reinforcing the false information through narratives where the PSDB had supposedly changed their mind and copied Ciro’s tax reform proposal.

In turn, Alckmin’s statement where he credits former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s administration as the author of the Plano Real prompted only 663 references, which made ironic comments about the candidate’s mistake. According to the most retweeted posts, Alckmin was trying to legitimize PSDB’s administrations by using false information in his statement, which indicated the lack of positive actions in these administrations. Some users also highlighted Alckmin and Ciro’s fight for determining the “paternity” of the Plano Real.
In turn, Meirelles’ attempt to not be seen as a politician by highlighting his trajectory in the financial sector prompted 1,053 publications, of which around 50% referred to Agência Lupa’s checking that the information is false, since Meirelles was president of the Central Bank and Minister of Finance. He was also criticized due to what some users saw as an attempt to move away from president Michel Temer’s administration.