Instagram troll managed from Brazil’s President office

A social media profile removed by Facebook was accessed through official public locations and the President of Brazil’s home. Jair Bolsonaro had claimed he had no links with the troll.

Last year, the Federal Police investigated on “antidemocratic acts” which was meant to look into the protests against the come back to a military dictature. Along the investigation, it identified a fake profile suspected to be managed by Jair Bolsonaro’s team. A Brazilian newspaper revealed it was accessed through the Palácio do Planalto and the President’s house.

Last year, Facebook removed several Instagram or Facebook accounts that it considered as fake ones. In its investigation, the Federal Police therefore used a report about the suppression of the profiles produced by the Forensics Lab of the Atlantic Council, a U.S. organization documenting disinformation and exposing fake news. According to Estãdao, the Federal Police identified 80 accounts which were considered as spreading “non-democratic information. Internet service providers then shared the IP addresses and geographic data linked to these profiles.

Those profiles were accessed more than 1,000 times from public buildings like the House of Representatives, the Senate, Palácio do Planalto or even Jair Bolsonaro’s house in Rio de Janeiro.

Palácio do Planalto, the President's official workplace where fake profiles were managed between 2018 and 2019
Palácio do Planalto, the President’s official workplace where fake profiles were managed between 2018 and 2019 | Michel Temer

A troll in the President office

The Instagram profile “Bolsonaro Newsss” was part of the fake profiles Facebook removed in June last year. The account was used to send memes attacking former allies of Jair Bolsonaro.

But the IP addresses for accessing this account were linked to Jair Bolsonaro’s house and the official workplace of the President in Brasilia, the Palácio do Planalto. More than 100 accesses to the account were done between November 2018 and May 2019 inside the Presidential facilities. Moreover, the accounts were active during working hours suggesting it was part of Tércio Arnaud Thomaz’s job, an advisor of Jair Bolsonaro and the alleged administrator of @bolsonaronewsss.

The President always denied public personnel used fake Facebook or Instagram profiles to troll the Internet in his favour.

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