Towards Understanding the Use of Telegram by Political Groups in Brazil

  • Manoel Júnior UFMG
  • Philipe Melo UFMG
  • Ana Paula Couto da Silva UFMG
  • Fabrício Benevenuto UFMG
  • Jussara Almeida UFMG


Instant messaging platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp became one of the main means of communication used by people all over the world. In most of these services, communities are created around the so called groups and channels, allowing easy, encrypted and instantaneous information exchange. With the political debate gaining a widespread attention from the public and permeated with intense discussion and polarization, specially in a context in which far right communities are being banned from maistream social networks like Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook, alternative platforms, like Telegram become very popular as they start to be seeked as a "free space to discussion" and abused for dissemination of misinformation and hate speech. This work consists in a data analysis for Brazilian public groups and channels for political discussion on Telegram, observing the network created in the platform as well as a closer look in the dynamics of messages and members in this platform. Our findings show that political mobilization increased substantially on Telegram in recent years, suggesting a mass migration from other mainstream platforms. We find the large groups structure of Telegram are effective in spreading the messages through the network, with the content being viewed by numerous users and forwarded multiple times. Looking at the messages, we find an expressive interplay between Telegram and external web pages, notably for Youtube and other social networks. Furthermore, we observed a relevant amount of messages attacking political personalities and spreading unchecked content about COVID-19 pandemic. Taken all together, we perform an extense study in how political discussion advanced on Telegram in Brazil and how they operate in this alternative messaging application.
Palavras-chave: Telegram, content dissemination, politics, messaging applications
JÚNIOR, Manoel; MELO, Philipe; SILVA, Ana Paula Couto da; BENEVENUTO, Fabrício; ALMEIDA, Jussara. Towards Understanding the Use of Telegram by Political Groups in Brazil. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE SISTEMAS MULTIMÍDIA E WEB (WEBMEDIA), 1. , 2021, Minas Gerais. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2021 . p. 237-244.


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