10 Mar

Bolsonaro’s profile consolidates leadership in interactions on three platforms in 2022, but opposition groups are more numerous on Twitter

Updated 15 de March, 2022 at 5:55 pm

  • Interactions in Bolsonaro’s profile are far higher than in profiles of other presidential hopefuls on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; Ciro Gomes takes the lead in YouTube views;
  • Government opposition groups account for 54.6% of profiles on Twitter, but the pro-Bolsonaro group alone has 53.8% of the interactions;
  • Tweets about the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia increased Bolsonaro’s interactions; Lula surfs on memes; Ciro Attacks Moro; Doria and Moro criticize the government’s position regarding the war in Ukraine.

The first eight weeks of 2022 were marked by the recovery of Bolsonaro’s lead compared to other presidential hopefuls in terms of volume of interactions in the profiles on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. On YouTube, the highlight is the channel of the pre-candidate for PDT, Ciro Gomes, who established himself as the leader in views on the platform. In this period, Jair Bolsonaro (PL), Lula (PT), Sergio Moro (Podemos), João Doria (PSDB), Ciro Gomes (PDT), Simone Tebet (MDB) and Eduardo Leite (PSDB) accounted for more than 66.3 million interactions and 12.7% million views in the four platforms analyzed.

However, the mentions to candidates on Twitter are more balanced, with groups associated with Bolsonaro and Lula accounting for around 30% of the profiles in the debate. The opposition to the government accounted for 6.13% of the profiles aligned with the center-right, associated with Moro and Doria, 3.4% of the profiles supporting Ciro Gomes, and around 14.8% of the profiles opposing the current government but with no explicit connection to a specific pre-candidate. Following a trend observed throughout the current presidential term, the pro-Bolsonaro group has remained the most active, accounting for more than 53% of the interactions in the period.

Regarding mentions associated with topics, there is a strong association of Bolsonaro with Security, due to pressures to accept candidates who passed public tenors for the Federal Police and the Federal Highway Police. Although predominantly associated with the government, the debate about infrastructure also had positive mentions to the Lula administration. Regarding health care, there was criticism by Bolsonaro of the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia as well as mentions to consequences of the pandemic in the country.


Map of interactions in mentions about the presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: February 01 to March 06

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Blue – 30.65% of profiles | 53.8% of interactions
Group orbiting the profile of the presidential hopeful Jair Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) and led by the conservative sphere, who lamented the decriminalization of abortion until the 6th month of pregnancy in Colombia and criticized the left wing for supporting the decriminalization, potentially disregarding life and religions precepts.

Red – 30.28% of profiles | 24.4% of interactions
Group orbiting the profile of the presidential hopeful Lula (@lulaoficial), criticizing military attacks of a country against another and emphasizing that the damage caused by war could be remedied through negotiation. The group also remembered (with a sense of longing) the works carried out in the Northeast region and investments in agriculture, making direct references to people who do not eat meat. In addition, the posts in this group commented on the choice of Geraldo Alckmin as Lula’s political partner in the 2022 elections, and called the arrest of former President Lula “unfair” and “illegal”.

Lilac – 6.13% of profiles | 7.3% of interactions
Group orbiting the profiles of the presidential hopefuls Sérgio Moro and João Doria (@sf_moro and @jdoriajr), commenting about corruption scandals involving the current Brazilian President Bolsonaro and the former President Lula. The group also criticized the “neutrality” of Brazil regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war and repudiated declarations made by the congressman Arthur do Val about Ukrainian women. In addition, the posts commented on the actions of the governor of São Paulo regarding the salary readjustment for public servants, the potential overpricing in the purchase of respirators from China, and criticized the subway works.

Orange – 3.4% of profiles | 4.5% of interactions
Group orbiting the profile of the presidential hopeful Ciro Gomes (@cirogomes), commenting on the potential consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian war for Brazil, emphasizing the economic and administrative fragility of the federal government. The group also disapproved the idea of creating and institutionalizing a Nazi Party in Brazil and focused on criticizing the administration of former President Lula.

Green – 14.84% of profiles | 3.5% of interactions
Group composed of heterogeneous profiles, particularly users spreading viral information on the internet such as memes. The group jokingly and ironically criticized the position of the federal government regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war, commented on election polls, emphasizing Lula’s numeric leadership in the presidential race and the fact that Bolsonaro is in second place. The posts also commented on the bahvior of Jair Bolsonaro’s sons, who are considered “sexist”, “misogynistic” and “ignorant”.

Major tweets inside the groups in the map of interactions
Period: February 1 to March 6

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Evolution topics with mentions to presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: February 1 to March 6 | Aggregated per week

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

  • The debate about security had the highest number of mentions associated with the profiles of presidential hopefuls in the last five weeks. Jair Bolsonaro was the pre-candidate mentioned in the major tweets of the period, in messages that pressured him to call those approved in public tenors for the Federal Police and the Federal Highway Police. These tweets were prominently distributed over the entire period analyzed.
  • In the economic debate, Lula obtained positive mentions in the week of February 21 in tweets celebrating the program Luz para Todos and criticizing the privatization of Eletrobras. The governor of São Paulo, João Doria, was mentioned in the context of pressure for the approval of Bill No. 22/2020, which seeks to stop the declaration of an actuarial deficit of the São Paulo Pension Regime and the collection of an additional contribution from retirees and pensioners.
  • Bolsonaro obtained several mentions associated with the topic of health care in the week of February 21, when he criticized the decriminalization of abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy in Colombia, and in the week of February 28, when he announced a meeting with Minister Marcelo Queiroga and indicated the possibility of demoting the Covid-19 situation in Brazil to an endemic.
  • The peak of mentions to the topic of the environment in the week of February 7 was associated with Lula’s critical statements about the government’s project that seeks to authorize mining on indigenous lands.

Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: January 3 to March 6 | Aggregated per week

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

  • President Jair Bolsonaro got more than twice as many interactions as the second highest-placed presidential hopeful, former President Lula. The weekly evolution has shown a trend of growth in interactions since the beginning of the year. The week of February 21 reached the peak of interactions in Bolsonaro’s profile, prompted by a series of tweets criticizing the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia.
  • All the other presidential hopefuls showed a low change in the volume of interactions over the period, although the week of January 24 was a highlight, when Ciro Gomes surpassed the volume of interactions of Sergio Moro, reaching third place. This increase in interactions was associated with a series of tweets that had commented about and harshly criticized the suspicions of a conflict of interest in the legal work of former judge Sergio Moro.
  • The major tweets made by former President Lula had very fragmented topics, with sporadic information and comments about events that happened during the week, such as a meeting with former president Dilma Rousseff, statements against the war in Ukraine, and light-hearted messages in reaction to expressions of support for his candidacy.


Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Facebook
Period: January 3 to March 6 | Aggregated per week

Source: Facebook | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

  • Facebook is the network in which President Jair Bolsonaro has the greatest lead compared to other presidential hopefuls. The peak of mentions happened in the first week of the year, in the context of Bolsonaro’s hospitalization due to intestinal problems. The week of February 7 also saw an increase in interactions in the context of publications that condemned Nazism – in reaction to the Flow Podcast episode – and publicized the inauguration of works in the Northeast region.
  • All the other pre-candidates were stable throughout the period, with the only highlight being Lula, who is isolated from the others as the second presidential hopeful. Lula used the network to publicize interviews with alternative media outlets and radio stations.


Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Instagram
Period: January 3 to March 6 | Aggregated per week

Source: Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

  • Jair Bolsonaro, with a significant lead compared to the other presidential hopefuls and trend of growth on the platform, had two sharp peaks of engagement associated with the president’s hospitalization due to his intestinal obstruction on January 3 and with comments about the decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in Colombia on February 21.
  • Lula’s and Sergio Moro’s volume of interactions varied very similarly in the distribution over time, showing stability over the period analyzed. Moro, however, has been growing on the platform. Most of the engagement around him was associated with the hashtag #MoroNoFlow (Moro on the Flow Podcast) and with to criticism directed at Lula and Bolsonaro. The suspension of criminal proceedings against Lula generated significant engagement about the presidential hopeful.
  • Despite the high volume of publications, Ciro Gomes and João Doria have an inexpressive performance on this platform, where Ciro was even surpassed by the presidential hopeful Doria. Ciro focused most of his engagement on criticizing Moro. Doria, in turn, continues to focus on engagement associated with vaccination campaigns.


Evolution of views in the channels of presidential hopefuls on YouTube
Period: January 3 to March 6 | Aggregated per week

Source: YouTube | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

  • Ciro Gomes, who had already been showing prominence and growth on the platform, consolidated his leadership and is the only presidential hopeful to surpass Bolsonaro in engagement on the networks analyzed.
  • Ciro’s peaks in engagement are associated with his reaction videos (“React do Cirão”), especially those that commented about Sergio Moro’s participation in the Flow Podcast (January 24) and the meeting between Bolsonaro and Putin in Russia (February 14).
  • Only Ciro, Bolsonaro and Lula had a significant level of activity and engagement on this platform. Bolsonaro’s engagement continues to be associated with his weekly live broadcasts; Lula published videos and excerpts from interviews in which he emphasized his campaign priorities and government program.