WhatsApp and YouTube formed a powerful, and at times dangerous, feedback loop of extremism and misinformation in Brazil. BKC affiliate Yasodara Cordova says that Brazilians in poorer areas turn to WhatsApp instead of YouTube because they cannot afford the data, but instead share clips from YouTube videos via WhatsApp. Research from BKC faculty associate Virgilio Almeida into the use of WhatsApp in Brazil supports this finding.
The two platforms, combined, “become an important portal for transmitting rumors, false information, fake news,” Almeida said. “That’s the big picture.”