Bolsonaro won the 2018 presidential election, but claimed without proof that his victory margin would have been even greater had it not been for widespread fraud in Brazil’s electronic voting system.
As he prepares to begin his re-election campaign ahead of the October 2022 vote, the far-right president has raised the issue again – fearing he could refuse to accept the results if defeated.
Fighting on, YouTube’s Brazil office said it would remove videos of the 2018 election “spreading false allegations of widespread fraud, errors or altering technical issues”.
Political analysts have warned that Bolsonaro is preparing to follow in the footsteps of his political role model, former US President Donald Trump, who refused to concede defeat in the 2020 election, citing widespread vote rigging.
Bolsonaro is currently ahead of his potential rival, the left-wing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazil is deeply polarizing towards elections, which, like the 2018 campaign, seem to be fertile ground for a confusing war on social media.
YouTube’s move comes after a Supreme Court judge ruled last week to block online messaging platform Telegram, including refusing to comply with requests from Brazilian authorities to remove the confusion.
The ban was lifted after Bolsonaro agreed to remove the telegram material, including an August post, without proof of the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system, which has been used since 1996.
Bolsonaro has also removed posts from YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to spread confusion.