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DAPP director joins TSE Advisory Board on internet and 2018 elections

Marco Aurelio Ruediger is one of three civil society representatives a group or a group that will propose actions to combat a false news and use of robots

10 months ago

The director of FGV’s Department of Public Policy Analysis (DAPP), Marco Aurelio Ruediger, has been appointed by the president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Judge Gilmar Mendes, as a member of the Advisory Board on the Internet and the Elections. The group’s purpose within the Court is to propose actions to contain the spread of fake news and the use of bots during the 2018 elections.

The Board is composed of ten members, including members of the TSE, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin), the Army, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Science and Technology. During the Board’s first meeting, held on Monday, December 11, members discussed the need to create booklets and awareness campaigns for the population, preparing procedure manuals for electoral judges, creating a virtual environment (site or application) to receive suggestions and complaints about fake news, and analyzing the TSE’s resolution proposals to suggest collaborations.

The group’s responsibilities include developing research projects and studies on the electoral rules and the influence of the internet on the elections – particularly the risk of fake news and the use of bots to spread information –; providing an opinion on matters submitted by the Presidency of the TSE; and proposing actions and goals to improve the rules.

— We have to help civil society, political players, network providers, and the Court coordinate this subject, which is of everyone’s interest. I don’t think they should be regulated, but they should work together — said Ruediger, who also states that companies that manage social networks must be aware of the social impact of the services they provide.

The director also participated in the seminar ‘Fake News and Democracy,’ held by the Senate’s Social Communications Board in Brasília on December 12. The event featured the study ‘Bots, social networks, and politics in Brazil,’ developed by DAPP to identify illegitimate interference throughout key moments of Brazilian politics.

— We’re not dealing with a transitional issue; the use of automated accounts is an instrument to spread information and even a form of power. Each player during elections has a different take on social networks and their purpose. But everyone wants to maximize the benefits under their own perspective. The ecosystem is unbalanced and, in these conditions, the end result for society is sub-optimal. What we propose as the ideal scenario is to prevent the misuse of state resources for campaigns, avoid asymmetries that are harmful to the democratic process and artificially managed, expand transparency and reach a consensus among the key players on the networks — he said.