Elections

Zap Zap, Who’s There? WhatsApp and the Spread of Fake News During the 2018 Elections in Brazil

Zap Zap, Who’s There? WhatsApp and the Spread of Fake News During the 2018 Elections in Brazil

Work originally published as a blog post for MIT’s Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab.

WhatsApp is a self-defined “fast, simple, secure messaging and calling” app. Its meteoric growth in the decade since the January 2009 release has earned it one of the largest user bases in the world, with an impressive total of 1.5 billion monthly users.[1] Its simplicity is, indeed, one of its core selling points, especially in countries in the Global South where Internet services are becoming increasingly present in people’s everyday lives and are shaping the simplest forms of interaction. The app considers every phone number as a user and automatically adds your phone’s contact list as your WhatsApp contacts. It enables users to message these contacts and also to create groups with them, which in Brazil has become a widespread cultural practice.

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