25 Nov

New Wave of Covid-19 Leads the Concerns in São Paulo on Twitter; Topic of Public Security Rises in the Debate in Rio

Updated 17 de December, 2020 at 11:00 am

  • According to a study conducted by FGV DAPP, between November 16th and 23rd, there were more than 51 thousand mentions and concerns to the health among users based in Sao Paulo’s capital;
  • In Rio de Janeiro, the debate was more focused on topics connected to the role of the militia in the city’s politics, with more than 22 thousand mentions, followed by the topic of health;
  • In Porto Alegre, the second round was marked by the death of João Alberto in a supermarket; meanwhile in Recife, health and security had equal predominance in the debate;
  • The study also analyzed the mentions to education, which was generally in third place of predominance in this period, as well as transportation and accusations of fake news, which are usually mobilized during election times.

With only a few days left for the second round of the municipal elections in Brazil, the public debate on Twitter last week indicated distinct emphasis among the concerns in the main capitals in the country. According to an analysis by the Department of Public Policy Analysis of Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV DAPP), in São Paulo, the discussion about the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 stood out the most, leading people to question whether there would be an intensification of isolation measures right after the round ended.

According to a study from FGV DAPP, between November 16th and 23rd, there were 51 thousand mentions to the topic among users living in Sao Paulo. In Rio de Janeiro, the debate was more focused on topics connected to public security, especially regarding the role of militias in the city’s politics, with 22 thousand mentions.
In Porto Alegre, in turn, the most mentioned topic in the period was racism, due to the death of João Alberto Freitas in a Carrefour supermarket unit last Friday, reaching 64 thousand messages (a very expressive number considering the city) and also boosting the debate about public security. Finally, in Recife, with much less mentions to specific topics in the period, there was a greater balance between health (which placed first) and public security.

Questions related to education, in general, appeared with a somewhat highlight in the mentioned period, but not like the topics regarding health and security. Besides that, debates about transportation and accusations of fake news were also monitored, the latter being usually explored in the final steps of political campaigns.

In Sao Paulo, Second Wave of Covid-19 Generates Concerns

Between November 16th and 23rd of 2020, the analysis from FGV DAPP identified 11.2 thousand mentions to the topic of education in the debate regarding the city of Sao Paulo. The debate was marked by attacks to the management of this sector by the candidate for reelection Bruno Covas (PSDB), which aimed the brute performance of the police in the manifestations of teachers from the municipal system against the reduction of salaries in 2019, and the involvement of his Vice candidate Ricardo Nunes in the “daycare mafia”, a scheme of embezzlement in the units connected to the City Hall.

Critical Topics in the Debate about Sao Paulo on Twitter
Analyzed period: from November 16th to November 23rd

Source: Twitter | Elaboration: FGV DAPP

Regarding the situation of health in the capital of Sao Paulo, the debate – which added up to 51.5 thousand posts – highlighted the arrival of 120 thousand Coronavac vaccine doses in the city on Thursday (19th). Also, criticisms to the social isolation measures defined by the Governor of Sao Paulo João Dória (PSDB), as well as his promise to obligate the vaccination against Covid-19 in the State had strong highlight in this part of the debate.

On the analyzed period, 5.2 thousand mentions to public transportation in Sao Paulo were identified. The debate complained about the bad management of Bruno Covas in the sector, who had supposedly changed rules in the transportation allowances, harming a great part of the population, which was corroborated by the bus companies in the capital. In other posts, on the other hand, there was a discussion about the viability of Guilherme Boulos’ promise of free tickets in the city, questioning the funding to execute it.

Regarding the debate on security in Sao Paulo, there were 27.4 thousand posts that focused on specific cases, such as a Federal Police operation against the drug traffic in the country, which led to warrants of arrest and apprehension in Sao Paulo and other Brazilian States, as well as accusations against a woman who verbally attacked with homophobic and racial slurs clients and workers in a bakery on the Western Zone of the capital.

Protests in a supermarket unit of the franchise Carrefour in Sao Paulo also marked the discussion on racism in the capital, which was the subject of 7.5 thousand mentions. The fact that the protesters set fire in the supermarket due to the murder of João Alberto Freitas in Porto Alegre had a huge repercussion.

A great part of the debate about disinformation, with 3.5 thousand posts, suggested that the campaign of Bruno Covas relied on fake accusations against Guilherme Boulos and his supporters, such as the claim during the debate on the television channel CNN that Fernando Haddad (PT) had left him the City Hall of Sao Paulo with a deficit in the public finances.

In Rio, the Action of Militias in the Politics Leads the Mentions

With the second round of the municipal elections coming in some Brazilian cities, critical topics were observed in the public debate on Twitter. Between November 16th and November 23rd of 2020, for example, 16.5 thousand mentions to the situation of health in Rio de Janeiro were identified, according to the study. A great part of the debate tackled the concern with the recent increase of the rates of occupied ICU beds by Covid-19 patients, which are similar to the numbers in the beginning of the pandemic. Comments criticized, mainly, the hosting of parties in bars and Samba school squares during what is suspected to be the second wave of contamination by the disease.

Critical Topics on the Debate about Rio de Janeiro on Twitter
Period of analysis: from November 16th to November 23rd

Source: Twitter | Elaboration: FGV DAPP

The study also counted 13.5 thousand posts referring to the education on the capital of Rio. This part of the debate circled around the declaration from the candidate for reelection Marcelo Crivella (Republicanos) who said in a video that was widespread on social media that, if elected, his adversary on the race, Eduardo Paes (DEM), would put the education of Rio on the hands of the Federal Congressman Marcelo Freixo (PSOL-RJ), who would encourage pedophilia and drug use in schools.

Regarding public transportation in Rio, the topic of 3.6 thousand posts in the analyzed period, the news that imply the candidate for City Hall Eduardo Paes (DEM) in irregularities in litigations of bus companies in his former management was mobilized on Twitter, among other things. By sharing pictures and videos, other posts also pointed out the precarious situation of the BRT stations as a result of Crivella’s management.

22 thousand mentions regarding the topic of security in the capital of Rio were also identified. Posts highlighted the endemic involvement of militias in the city’s politics, which even had influence over the results of the elections. Regarding racial discrimination, specifically, the debate about Rio gathered 2.7 thousand posts that spread images of protests in the city against the murder of João Alberto Silveira Freitas in a supermarket in Porto Alegre (RS), as well as testimonies of other cases of racism involving a venue of the supermarket in Rio. Besides that, there were those who fought back the claim that there is not racism in Brazil by pointing out data about the number of black people murdered mostly in Rio’s communities.

Lastly, the debate about disinformation in the city gathered 1.8 thousand tweets and aimed the campaign of Marcelo Crivella in the second round of the municipal elections. The accusation made by the pastor that parties who support Paes, if elected, would promote pedophilia in schools was labeled as fake news.

In Porto Alegre, Final Round Was Marked by the Death of João Alberto

The debate about education in Porto Alegre gathered 1.2 thousand mentions in the analyzed period. The largest part of the posts declared support to the candidate for City Hall Manuela D’Ávila (PCdoB) due to her promises of, among other things, increasing the daycare vacancies and the creation of full-time schools in order to promote the Rio Grande do Sul capital as an educating city.

Regarding health, 4.3 thousand mentions were identified, with highlights being the hospitalization of the Federal Congressman Osmar Terra (MDB) in Porto Alegre due to Covid-19 complications, as well as the fact that the Congressman had underestimated the seriousness of the disease ever since the beginning of the pandemic.

Next, with 1.4 thousand posts, the debate about public transportation also focused on the proposals from Manuela D’Ávila for the sector. While some trust in her promise of improving the quality of the bus system and lowering the cost of tickets, many were unconvinced by her proposal of creating a public transportation app and the readjustment of bus fares.

The debates about both public security as well as racial discrimination in Porto Alegre circled around the murder of a black man by the security guards of a Carrefour venue in the Northern Zone of the capital, on Thursday night (21st). A great part of the 36.1 thousand mentions to the security of the city highlighted the information that one of the aggressors was a Military Police officer, which attested to the unpreparedness of the security agents. With 64.3 thousand posts, the debate about racism manifested outrage over the episode and lamented the fact that it occurred in the eve of the Black Awareness Day.

2.9 thousand mentions about the topic of disinformation were identified. The largest part of the comments pointed out the attacks suffered by Manuela D’Ávila who had been a target of fake news ever since her candidacy to Vice-President of Brazil in 2018.

Critical Topics in the Debate about Porto Alegre on Twitter
Analyzed period: from November 16th to November 23rd

Source: Twitter | Elaboration: FGV DAPP

In Recife, the Debate about Health and Security Was More Balanced

In the debate about Recife, the topic of education appeared in 1.8 thousand mentions on Twitter in the analyzed period. The posts reminisced the performance of the candidate Marília Arraes (PT) in the teachers’ strike for salary readjustment in 2015 when she was a City Councilor in the capital. Furthermore, the posts compared the trajectory of the PT candidate, who is a teacher and has already ran a commission of public policies for the youth, with the supposed unpreparedness of her opponent João Campos (PSB), who supposedly had little experience in politics.

The study from FGV DAPP also identified 2.6 thousand posts that refer to the situation of health in the Pernambuco capital. This part of the debate manifested concern with the new numbers of the second wave of Covid-19 infections, and betted in the election of Marília Arraes, who had been promoting the purchase of vaccines for the disease, for the effective fight against the pandemic in the city.

Regarding transportation in Recife, 900 posts highlighted the recent strike of bus drivers and chargers in the metropolitan region, which demanded the fulfillment of the law that forbids double functions on buses; criticisms from Marília Arraes to the current situation of the bikeways in the city, which were not useful for the workers; and the alleged ignorance of João Campos about public transportation in the city.

The main topic of the 570 posts about public security in Recife circled around the performance of the police force during protests in the city motivated by the murders of João Alberto Freitas in Porto Alegre. Many posts accused the police officers for being violent during the manifestations.

The murder of a black man by security guards in a Carrefour supermarket in Porto Alegre brought back another controversial episode involving a venue from the franchise in the capital of Pernambuco. The largest part of the 990 thousand posts about racism reminisced the case in which a worker was covered by umbrellas in the store after dying, while the store remained operating normally.

Critical Topics in the Debate about Recife on Twitter
Analyzed period: from November 16th to November 23rd

Source: Twitter | Elaboration: FGV DAPP

Finally, regarding disinformation, the debate gathered 1.7 thousand mentions, which accused João Campos from spreading fake information against her opponent, Marília Arraes, in the race for City Hall in the city. Posts alerted about the circulation of pamphlets that associated the PT candidate with abortion, with the supposed gender ideology, with drug legalizations, and with practices of religious intolerance.