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Brazil’s Online Disinformation Challenges Extend Beyond Meta

Telegram and a handful of niche social networks complicate a contentious debate about disinformation ahead of the country’s election.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (top right) greets supporters during celebrations to mark the country’s 200th anniversary of independence at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 7.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (top right) greets supporters during celebrations to mark the country’s 200th anniversary of independence at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 7.

Photographer: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

On Sept. 7, Brazil’s Independence Day, former Trump adviser Jason Miller hung out near Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach handing out free T-shirts to anyone who would join his social media platform.

The streets were full of people who’d come for a campaign-style rally for incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro. Miller posed for selfies and asked people to sign up for Gettr, his Twitter-like app popular with right-wing users, finding a receptive audience among what he described as his most “passionate, excited, and patriotic user base.”