07 Apr

Lula on the move again on social networks; Bolsonaro loses advantage on Twitter and Instagram

Updated 25 de April, 2022 at 10:15 am

  • With majority of profiles, pro-Lula group on Twitter criticized the increase in prices in the country; pro-Bolsonaro group led in engagement and praised measures taken by the government in security, health care and the economy.
  • Profiles of @SF_Moro and @jdoriajr engaged the same community on Twitter; @eduardoleite_, @simonetebetms and @cirogomes did not participate in major interactions on the platform;
  • Bolsonaro is only far ahead on Facebook; Ciro Gomes maintains his lead on YouTube.

After losing his lead in terms of YouTube views to Ciro Gomes, Bolsonaro now faces strong competition from Lula for interactions on Twitter and Instagram. A survey by the Department of Public Policy Analysis at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP) showed that, between March 7 and April 3, there were more than 46.6 million interactions and views in the profiles, pages and channels of the presidential hopefuls Jair Bolsonaro (PL), Lula (PT), Ciro Gomes (PDT), Sergio Moro (UNIÃO), João Doria (PSDB), Simone Tebet (MDB) and Eduardo Leite (PSDB) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Bolsonaro had a large advantage in volume of interactions in his profiles on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter during the first months of 2022. However, the March report indicates a change in this scenario, with the profile of former president Lula closing the gap on Twitter and showing strong levels of engagement on Instagram. Facebook was the only network were Bolsonaro maintained a large advantage compared to his adversaries. In turn, Ciro Gomes has shown increasing predominance on YouTube, with more than double the views of the second place, Jair Bolsonaro.

General debate

Map of interactions in mentions to presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Period: March 7th to April 4th

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Red – 34.7% of profiles | 29.1% of interactions
Group led by @LulaOficial and composed of left-wing politicians as well as artists, journalists and comic profiles criticizing the federal profile, commenting and complaining about the recent increase in fuel prices in the country. Other topics discussed in this group included demonstrations supporting Lula in the Lollapalooza festival, reprisal of ironic statements made by the congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-RJ) regarding the journalist Miriam Leitão, and comments about the four years since the assassination of the city councilor Marielle Franco (PSOL-RJ) and her driver Anderson Gomes.

Blue – 25.8% of profiles | 50.6% of interactions
Group mobilized by right-wing politicians, bloggers and digital influencers supporting the government and centered on posts made by @jairbolsonaro,mentioning measures taken by the federal government in infrastructure, security and the economy, as well as trivial comments posted by the president about TV programs, deepfake videos and public demonstrations against his administration. Among governmental measures, Bolsonaro mentioned the success of bank transactions through the pix system, the reduction in federal taxes for basic products, the provision of titles to rural producers, and the expansion of acess to dental care through the universal health care system.

Lilac – 23.3% of profiles | 7.0% of interactions
Group composed of artists, alternative media channels and entertainment channels, including @EduardoLeite_, comparing the achievements of the singer @anitta (who reached the first position in the ranking of most played songs on Spotify at the end of March) with potential results of the presidential elections. The posts predict either Bolsonaro’s defeat or Lula’s victory in the race. The profiles also gave opinions about the ending of the reality show Big Brother Brazil and the World Cup this year, with the victory of the Brazilian side.

Green – 4.6% of profiles | 5.5% of interactions
A relatively heterogeneous group including the profiles of @SF_Moro and @jdoriajr as well as right-wing and center-right politicians, alternative media channels and conservative social movements. The posts focused on commenting about ramifications of Operation Car Wash, particularly those involving the former president Lula, and on criticizing opinions and attitudes of the former minister of Security Sérgio Moro regarding lawsuits, implying his indecision about whether to run for the Presidency. Some portions of the group defended and other portions criticized the jurist Deltan Dallagnol.

Major tweets inside the groups in the map of interactions
Period: March 7th to April 4th

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls

Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Twitter
Analysis period: March 7th to April 3rd | Aggregated per week

Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

After several weeks in which Bolsonaro’s profile obtained more than 1 million interactions in the beginning of 2022, the president showed a trend of decrease in March, reaching 1 million interactions in only one of the four weeks analyzed. The president saw the lowest amount of interactions in his profile this year in the week of March 28.

The former president Lula had an increase in interactions after a stagnation period when he remained below 500 thousand interactions per week. Lula obtained more interactions than Bolsonaro in 10 of the 27 days analyzed. A meeting with artists in Rio de Janeiro including Zeca Pagodinho, Martinho da Vila, Paulinho da Viola, Teresa Cristina, Gaby Amarantos and Antônio Pitanga increased Lula’s interactions. Another highlight was a publication made with the singer Ludmilla.

After a period of growth and stabilization as the third name with the most interactions on Twitter, Sergio Moro showed a trend of decrease and obtained a volume of interactions very similar to that of Ciro Gomes.


Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Facebook
Analysis period: March 7th to April 3rd | Aggregated per week

Source: Facebook | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

Facebook is the network in which President Jair Bolsonaro shows the greatest lead compared to other pre-candidates. Unlike on Twitter, where Bolsonaro’s publications with the most engagement on were about trivial topics such as the BBB, on Facebook, he obtained a high volume of interactions in posts about the inflation of food and fuel prices and a video in which he cried during a speech.

Despite Lula’s lower performance compared to Bolsonaro, there was an increase in interactions in his profile, which saw between 600 thousand and 500 thousand interactions in the first months of 2022 and more than 840 thousand interactions in the last three weeks of March. Like Bolsonaro, Lula has also changed the way he uses his platforms, with publications with a higher volume of interactions commenting on partisan meetings and pro-campaign actions.

The names in the so-called “third way” continue to have no significant volume of interactions on Facebook. The highest peak of interactions this period happened on the page of Ciro Gomes, in a publication about the increase in fuel prices on March 11.


Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on Instagram
Analysis period: March 7th to April 3rd | Aggregated per week

Source: Instagram | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

After peaks close to 5 million interactions in the beginning of 2022, in March, Jair Bolsonaro’s profile settled in an intermediate position between 1.5 and 3 million interactions per week. Among the publications with the highest volume of interactions on the platform, the highlights were a post about his birthday, announcements about federal tax reductions, and actions to improve housing.

Lula’s profile grew and surpassed Bolsonaro’s profile in the week of March 14, staying behind by only 5 thousand interactions in the week of March 28. It is interesting to note the consistent growth of Lula’s page in the last three weeks of March, compared to the eight previous weeks of stagnation below 1 million weekly interactions. This increase was associated with publications with several Brazilian and international celebrities, such as the singers Ludmilla and Lenny Kravitz.

After competing with Lula for second place in terms of volume of interactions on Instagram, Sergio Moro showed a slight drop, and Lula’s growth consolidated his position in third place.


Evolution of interactions in the profiles of presidential hopefuls on YouTube
Analysis period: March 7th to April 3rd | Aggregated per week

Source: YouTube | Elaborated by: FGV DAPP

With a low volume of interactions on other networks, Ciro Gomes continued to consolidate his first place in views on YouTube. His peak of views obtained in the first week of March was prompted by a 40-second video in which Ciro denied the false accusation of assault against his ex-wife Patricia Pillar.

Bolsonaro remained in second place, now threatened by Lula, who got around 200 thousand less views than the current president. Bolsonaro’s channel remained focused mainly on live broadcasts held on Thursdays, but a video about Bolsonaro’s affiliation event in the PL was also a highlight in the period.

Lula was ahead of Jair Bolsonaro in the week of March 14, with videos in which he criticized the increase in fuel prices, took a stand against the liberation of mining on indigenous lands and lamented the worsening of the population’s living conditions since the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.