Perhaps you’ve seen PragerU’s video on Brazil’s experience with socialism. The key points of the course are how Brazil’s socialist policies indebted the country, undermined the economy, and enriched the elite class of politicians and their cronies. In response, many Brazilians, particularly younger Brazilians, created a movement called Movimento Brazil Livre or MBL. In English, it translates as the Free Brazil Movement.
The movement is not without scrutiny and a familiar line of attacks that those on the American right are used to. They are accused of spreading fake news, being promoted by a foreign entity, and being a threat to democracy. Evidently this behavior is par for the course in any country dealing with an outbreak of socialism. Facebook, an American company has long been accused, and found guilty, of showing favoritism towards leftwing organizations and politicians. In their efforts to combat fake news, they targeted the Babylon Bee, a Christian satire website. This was the result of Facebook consulting leftist factcheckers including Snopes, the specific one the led to the downgrading of the Babylon Bee‘s content. Facebook, in essence has created a system where factcheckers have unchecked power. As Kalev Leetaru of Real Clear Politics explains:
In its fight against “fake news,” Facebook has elevated nearly three dozen of the world’s fact-checking websites to be the ultimate arbitrators of what constitutes “truth” online. In the past, when fact checkers made mistakes, there was little consequence to their errors – one could choose to simply ignore those fact checkers that strayed too far from evidence-based verification. In the Facebook era, however, those fact checkers now have the ability to banish any statement or evidence they believe to be false and even to effectively blacklist outlets they disagree with.
Facebook has applied the same arbitrary system in Brazil and the same type of right-wing anti-mainstream media movement was disproportionately targeted. The Free Brazil Movement fell prey when nearly 200 pages and 87 accounts were deactivated for their role in “fake news.” The Free Brazil Movement confirmed with Reuters that several of its organizers were affected. The political organization has a long ways to go to reach political power. However MBL is well organized. The group was largely responsible for demonstrations that brought down President Dilma Rousseff. Libertarian outlet, Reason released a documentary on the the success of the Free Brazil Movement in 2016 at the start of the summer Olympics. The groups success in bringing down the controversial Dilma Rousseff has put the libertarian movement under greater public scrutiny. It’s worth noting that leading up to and after the vote, Dilma Rousseff called her impeachment sexist, a narrative leftist outlets supported.
Following the ousting of Rousseff, the Free Brazil Movement has a long uphill battle in changing the political landscape in Brazil. The organization has a savvy social media presence which Facebook delivered a blow to. The organization has taken to twitter to raise awareness and generate a public outcry aimed at Facebook and the bias media. Still the ability for the organization to spread information is undoubtedly undermined for its future ambitions. But the prospects, long term, are brighter as the country’s youth are more receptive to capitalism than their predecessors.