By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) in Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday (June 28th) with Facebook and Google to prevent the proliferation of fake news during the months leading up to October’s general elections. The issue has become a major concern in this year’s elections.
The two companies have pledged to ‘combat disinformation generated by third parties’ and compliance with international human rights standards. The two-page document, however, does not detail any initiatives to be started by the two companies, stating only that the combat will take place through the ‘prevention of malicious practices of misinformation, projects to foster digital education and initiatives that promote quality journalism’.
One of the more vocal voices concerned with fake news in this year’s elections, Supreme Court Justice and TSE president, Luiz Fux attended the ceremony in which the documents were signed.
Earlier this month, Justice Fux signed a similar agreement with representatives of Brazil’s major political parties, which pledged to ‘maintain an electoral environment immune from the dissemination of false news’.
According to the Justice, the production and dissemination of fake news can put the democratic process at risk, to the point of resulting in the annulment of the elections.
“There is the possibility of annulment of the election if the results of the elections are the result of these false news,” the magistrate said last week in a conference to discuss the subject.
In the recently released digital news global study report by Reuters Institute, Brazil appears as the country most concerned with so-called “fake news“. The study which looked at 37 countries revealed that 85 percent of Brazilian respondents ‘expressed concern about veracity and the possibility of manipulation in the news stories’.
In March Brazilian prosecutors started an investigation to find out if UK firm Cambridge Analytica, using Facebook data, was analyzing profiles of millions of Brazilians to predict political behavior and help its Brazilian partner company determine the outcome of the country’s October presidential elections.