10 Feb

Leak of a confidential Federal Police investigation generates strong association of Bolsonaro with the security topic on Twitter

Updated 22 de February, 2022 at 3:02 pm

  • On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the presidential hopefuls appeared in more than 4.9 million posts in one week; the current president received the most mentions on the three platforms;
  • While the main adversaries deal with setbacks, government intensifies positive topics, emphasizing the works related to the transposition of the São Francisco River.

The pre-candidates for the 2022 presidential elections are already a constant topic in the public debate on social networks. On Twitter alone, between February 1st and 8, there were 4.77 million mentions to Jair Bolsonaro (PL), Lula (PT), Sergio Moro (Podemos), João Doria (PSDB), Ciro Gomes (PDT), Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD), Simone Tebet (MDB), Felipe d’Ávila (Novo), Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania), and André Janones (Avante). More than half of the posts – around 2.45 million – mentioned Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, Doria and Moro saw the highest oscillations in the period and stood out in peaks of mentions in different moments of the debate. On February 8, the advance of the transposition works for the São Francisco River in Sousa (RN) generated interactions for the current president. The collapse of a section of subway works in São Paulo on February 1st caused a wave of criticism against the governor of São Paulo. The volume of mentions to Moro grew due to accusations of unjust enrichment and tax evasion against him. Lula was the second name in terms of volume of mentions (106.8 thousand tweets) due to users declaring their vote for him as well as adversaries attacking him, such as the pre-candidate Ciro Gomes and supporters of the current federal government.

Evolution of mentions to presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: February 1st to 8

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Volume of associations of topics with presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: February 1st to 8

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

The strong association between Bolsonaro and the Security topic was caused by the ramifications of an alleged leak of a confidential Federal Police investigation. In turn, Lula was also associated with the topic due to the ongoing corruption accusations against him during his term in the Presidency. On topics related to the economy, Doria was questioned about expenses with the subway works that collapsed at the Marginal Tietê, in São Paulo; Moro faced suspicions regarding his contracts with companies and tax returns; and Ciro stood out due to his position against the privatization of Petrobras.

Evolution of mentions to presidential hopefuls on Facebook
Period: February 1st to 8

Source: Facebook | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

In this segment of the debate, President Jair Bolsonaro also leads the volume of mentions by far. His major posts in the period promoted federal government works in the water sector, particularly the transposition of the São Francisco River (PB, PE, RN, CE), with the presence of allies such as the congresswoman Carla Zambelli (PSL-SP) and the former congressman Magno Malta (PL-BA) in posts with a high level of engagement. The former president Lula had a low level of activity. The posts with the highest number of interactions about him were attacks, such as when the congresswoman Carla Zambelli commented on a protest in a church in Curitiba in association with the PT. The main “third way” candidates continue to show a low volume of engagement, which has been continuously noticed in the debate. The former minister Sergio Moro obtained interactions associated with an alleged tax evasion, which was widely commented by different actors in the political sphere. João Doria was blamed for the landslide in SP, while allies of the federal government praised the actions of the Bolsonaro administration and the Minister Tarcísio Freitas (#DoriaChamaOtarcisio – “Doria, call Tarcísio”). Ciro remained stable and his main posts were interactions in campaign promotion posts. Pacheco was a highlight in association with Bolsonaro due to the opening agenda of the legislative year as well as a possible withdrawal of his candidacy.

Evolution of mentions to presidential hopefuls on Instagram
Period: February 1st to 8

Source: Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Like on the other networks analyzed, Jair Bolsonaro is the presidential hopeful with the highest number of mentions on Instagram, with a peak on February 8 driven by publications highlighting the advances in the transposition works for the São Francisco River, as well as posts criticizing a statement made by a PT city councilor in a church in Curitiba. The publications with the most interactions mentioning Lula, Moro and Doria were made by opposing profiles, particularly those aligned with the federal government. The governor of São Paulo obtained a peak of interactions in this period due to an accident in subway works, with a predominance of negative mentions. Among the major pre-candidates, Ciro Gomes is the least targeted by profiles aligned with the government, with a predominance of positive mentions to him among the publications with the highest number of interactions.