MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Facebook Deactivates the Free Brazil Movement

The classical liberal group accuses Facebook of bias.

|||Bruno Rocha/ZUMA Press/NewscomBruno Rocha/ZUMA Press/NewscomEven as it tightens its controls on the things people in the U.S. can say on its platform, Facebook has dealt Movimiento Brasil Libre—the Free Brazil Movement—a serious blow shortly before the country's October elections. The social media giant deactivated 196 pages and 87 accounts belonging to the classical liberal organization, calling the pages "a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation."

Free Brazil Movement spokesperson Kim Kataguiri tells Reason that the group was unaware of the scope of Facebook's actions until its members read a Reuters article about it. (Facebook has not deactivated the group's main page.)

This is the first time the group has ever faced a crackdown of this sort. Previously, Kataguiri says, Facebook chose instead to diminish the reach of the group's posts. He compares that to "a disease that doesn't kill you in the first moment but makes you suffer over time.

"Our Facebook pages were crucial during the past 3 years," he adds. "When our movement, the Free Brazil Movement, had its greatest moment of growth, we reached a range of 40 million people weekly. The social media today has a brutal role in the political game, is how most people get informed and follow politics. That's why we're so concerned about it, because there's a huge part of the public debate happening there."

The movement now plans to spread its message using "Minds, Telegram, Youtube, [LinkedIn], and even sending a newsletter through e-mail," Kataguiri says.

In 2015, the Free Brazil Movement organized a protest of more than a million people to call for the impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff. Rousseff was forced to step down in May 2016 after she was charged with trying to manipulate the federal budget and mask economic problems by secretly borrowing money from state-owned banks. The young activists were widely credited with Rousseff's removal.

The group was the subject of a Reason profile in November 2016. There, Free Brazil Movement activist Renan Santos called Facebook an important tool: "Without Facebook, we would still have Dilma." In an accompanying video, Santos told Reason that the group used the site to create "a sort of parallel media." The open nature of Facebook allowed the group to gain exposure often denied them by the traditional media outlets that received money from the Brazilian government.

One Free Brazil Movement activist, Thomaz Barbosa, says that Facebook took a payment from him just before removing his account. According to Barbosa, he paid 400 Real—equivalent to about $100—to use a Facebook feature that would expand a post's reach. Despite Facebook's decision to deactivate Barbosa's account, Barbosa says the money was not returned. Reason reached out ot Facebook for comment on this, but did not receive an immediate response.

*CORRECTION: A previous version said that Barbosa paid 400,000 Real. The proper figure is 400 Real. The total in American dollars, $100, is correct.

Photo Credit: Bruno Rocha/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • John||

    Alex Jones is just a high profile tarbaby to justify deplatforming the Right not just in the US but worldwide. Remember, the tech companies are in bed with some of the world's worst and most repressive governments.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Quit whining.

  • Quixote||

    Indeed, it starts with a little whining and then it turns into inappropriately deadpan "satire." No better way of sowing and spreading misinformation and spreading public confusion. In the end, the reputations of our most revered academic policy makers are placed in considerable peril. Anything of the sort should be strictly forbidden, and the proper authorities should be called in whenever necessary. Campus officials are standing by, a copy of the Second Circuit's decision in America's leading criminal "parody" case in hand, and will cooperate whenever anyone crosses the line between conveying a "message," being sufficiently "puerile," and damaging a reputation. See the documentation at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • Quixote||

    P.s. my amanuensis has made a mistake. I meant, of course, "sowing misinformation and spreading public confusion."

  • John||

    Yes, you love oppression. Sorry but the future belongs to the intelligent and the dynamic. Toothless, angry idiots, like you have no future in this world.

  • aajax||

    All I see is you hurling insults.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The group's headquarters are located in São Paulo, and according to The Economist, was "founded last year to promote the answers of the free market for the country's problems"[7] In manifesto published on the internet, the MBL, often described as the "Brazilian Tea Party"[8], cites its five goals, "free and independent press, economic freedom, separation of powers, free and reputable elections, and the end of direct and indirect subsidies to dictatorships".[9]

    I can see why you don't like them.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    They're misogynistic, gay-bashing, authoritarian racists.

    I can see why you like them.

  • NoVaNick||

    They're misogynistic, gay-bashing, authoritarian racists.

    You must be talking about the US Democrat Party

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sounds like the Democratic Party.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Google is working with the Communist Party of China to create a search engine that full blocks free speech and non-sanctioned behaviors.

    Barely a peep from the US media.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And, unfortunately, the story is that Google was only the last to acquiesce with the other major search engines kowtowing to China for the last several years.

  • BYODB||

    Well, I guess the story goes that all the search engines need to practice for the future.

  • aajax||

    At least Google is no longer claiming that they are opposed to being evil.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It's time to admit that Facebook is only good for pictures of lunch. Direct communication worked before 2005. It will work again. Emails, websites, phone calls, and real life meetings are the best way to spread liberty.

  • John||

    Yes.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    The wingnuts in Brazil are boasting about turning to telegrams.

    American wingnuts should switch to telex and stagecoach.

  • John||

    Yes you are a toothless idiot fascist. We know that. But you make up for it by being profoundly stupid and uneducated.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I thought America was turning to Streetcars and Penny-farthings.

  • Enemy of the State||

    Just in the Dem urban areas so enamored of 19th century modes of transport...

  • NoVaNick||

    The protests of the 1960s and early 70s were MUCH larger than anything since (including the vagina march), and most people didn't even have touch tone phones then...

  • MWG||

    "he paid 400,000 Real—equivalent to about $100"

    Something is not right about this. If he paid 400,000 reals, it would be the equivilant of close to $100,000, not $100.

  • Drave Robber||

    Decimal separators these days.

  • MWG||

    Ah yes... makes sense.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Have right-wingers stopped describing Brazil's conservatives as libertarians, or has the reasonable audience merely refused to accept that silly claim from disingenuous conservatives?

    That conservatives would pledge to use telegrams to spread their backward, stale message is as fitting as it is quaint.

  • John||

    The Berkely police put your mugshot online. My God you are an ugly, toothless hillbilly.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018.....rally.html

  • NoVaNick||

    Yep-they look like zombies. Antifa looks to consist mostly of mentally ill street people off their meds.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That is what useful idiots look like.

    The Lefties in charge would put them in the ovens first.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    No wonder they wear masks. They should keep them on. All the time.

  • SIV||

    Celebrate another victory for freedom of association over vile conspiracy theory and fake news.

  • SIV||

    Brazil is just all kinds of problematic

    Yet the Free Brazil Movement stands by doing nothing.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Nice.

  • Ron||

    its interesting how in the past tweeting and facebook etc. were often touted as a means for the oppressed to organize against oppressors and now they have become the oppressors.

  • John||

    Oppressive governments just bought off and co-opted the big tech companies. The internet has become a means of control not an avenue for freedom we all hoped it would be.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Look who Zuckerberg likes to hang out with. That's your first clue where he wants Facebook to be.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    "a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation."

    Not unlike the DNC...

  • DajjaI||

    Hi I have a great Facebook story. Yesterday FB suspended my account, and then restored it about 10 hours later. (However other times my suspension was upheld.) As for political groups, it's tricky because that's the nature of politics. You have to hide your true intentions. If politicians were honest then no one would vote for them. Better to crack down on lies as opposed to vague allegations of 'coordinated networks'.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You seem to take a lot of pride in being banned.

  • DajjaI||

    At the risk of being banned again by Reason, I take great pride in being exonerated. You seem to be trying to 'blame the victim'. Yes I'm sure Alex Jones and Free Brazil really wanted it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They were asking for it by being on Facebook.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Reason reached out [to] Facebook for comment on this, but did not receive an immediate response.

    Someone's about to be banned.

  • Drave Robber||

    #ItWasHerTurn
    #TheyMustBeBots

  • Rockabilly||

    Antifa is still on facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/antifaintl/

  • Rockabilly||

    Yes, the facebook has the right to host ANTIFA, a masked and violent communist gang who beats people with chains and bats for thought crimes.

    Here is one beating

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDmMm_hQAPc

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Look at all those hammer and sickles and other Communist logos.

    These stupid young people dont know how bad it will be for them if the Silent Majority ended the Civil War that Lefties want.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The group's headquarters are located in São Paulo, and according to The Economist, was "founded last year to promote the answers of the free market for the country's problems" In manifesto published on the internet, the MBL, often described as the "Brazilian Tea Party", cites its five goals, "free and independent press, economic freedom, separation of powers, free and reputable elections, and the end of direct and indirect subsidies to dictatorships".

    The movement also voices strong opposition to social liberal ideologies such as women's reproductive rights, more relaxed regulations on recreational drug consumption and gender-equality efforts. It has been described therefore as "liberal towards economy and conservative towards habits".

    That should be enough for Facebook to censor them all right. There is after all only one true belief system, and failure to prove your loyalty [as in decrying the evil of and being mean to all white males] just won't cut the mustard.

  • aajax||

    In the Reason video, at least one activist claimed the group favors marijuana legalization.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "a coordinated network that hid behind fake Facebook accounts and misled people about the nature and origin of its content, all for the purpose of sowing division and spreading misinformation."

    You're kidding, right?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I seem to remember a court case here a few years ago where a young socialist refused to disclose her donors which the law demanded under campaign finance rules. She argued before the court that because she was a socialist, her donors required anonymity or they'd suffer repercussions. The court agreed and applied the law differently to her than everyone else. I'm trying to google it now but I'm having trouble finding it.

  • aajax||

    I'm not sure but I seem to recall that there is a provision in the law for that situation. I wonder if it would still hold for socialists, though.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It starts with Alex Jones, it ends with Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Facebook cannot have free speech on its website.
    Otherwise people might get the impression Facebook believes in the First Amendment.
    Then the stock market would crash.

  • NoVaNick||

    Could anyone possibly think that the Brazilian government paid FB to take down the pages of their opposition? Of course, we all know only fascists do such things, never progressive leftists.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Maybe threatened legal action?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Is there anyone who writes for this magazine that's feeling any shame at this?

    Because Reason is on Facebook's side here. That's been the position they've staked out and defended. 'Facebook is a private company, they can host who they wish-- and ban who they wish regardless of the contract they enter into with people who sign up'

    Reason
    Chained Minds and Chained Markets

  • aajax||

    No shame.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The last time Reason suffered coercion was on account of woodchipper spewings of a superstitious republican Trumpista. Infiltrators here mining support for the fascisti need to keep context in focus.

  • Empress Trudy||

    social media exists for the sole purpose of suppressing all that the mandarins who run social media object to. they are their own judge and jury and soon there will be no one left to give voice to even complaints about that and everything will be portrayed as wonderful.

  • aajax||

    If FB hours to far, they will encourage creation of a more open competitor. In fact, their user growth has flatlined. FB is no longer cool.

  • ||

    First they came for Alex Jones...Facebook loves your free comerce ideas so much it is shutting you down. Sadly they are my ideas too but fuck facebook.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    #Resist

    [x] Divisive
    [x] Attempt to take down opposition
    [x] Spreading misinformation

    [x] Facebook approved

  • Hank Phillips||

    Zuri must learn that libre is Spanish and livre is Portuguese. Also, Kim Kataguiri is as libertarian as Alberto Fujimori or Ted Cruz. For those fascisti to impersonate libertarians is at best a false flag operation, much as it galls me to agree with the other nationalsocialists currently in power. Brazil has its own Nixon anti-libertarian law that subsidizes telescreen propaganda for some 33 virtually identical looter parties. Blank ballots are the closest thing to libertarian votes, and they routinely outnumber votes cast "for" all candidates in large Brazilian municipalities.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online