available languages: english September 13, 2019

If you want to understand Portugal’s political debates think of Brazil, not Europe – Social media in the upcoming election campaign

Portugal’s online political debates differ from discussions taking place in other western European countries, in that migration or Islam are not major campaign issues for any party. Instead, corruption has much more resonance in social media debates, similar to the situation in Brazil. There are two key differences, though: extremist parties are weak in Portugal and there do not appear to be risks of massive online disinformation in the campaign leading up to the 6 October parliamentary elections.

Nevertheless, election monitors must remain vigilant as unexpected developments, such as wildfires, could be instrumentalized against political parties and used for disinformation. These findings were some of the conclusions from a debate DRI organised in Lisbon on 12 September with the Representation of the European Union to Portugal.

Speakers from state agencies, such as the National Election Commission and the Media Regulator explained gaps and ambiguities in Portugal’s legal framework, while DRI’s partners from Instituto Universitário de Lisboa’s media lab shared the first findings from their monitoring. Other speakers included journalists, polling experts and a representative of Google. DRI’s Rafael Goldzweig explained DRI’s approach to monitoring social media during elections. Some 60 participants attended the event.