Parrot Talk: Retweeting Among Twitter Users During the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Election

  • Jordan K. Kobellarz UTFPR
  • Alexandre R. Graeml UTFPR
  • Michelle Reddy Stanford Univ., USA
  • Thiago H. Silva UTFPR


This study investigates users engagement on Twitter around presidential elections. While existing studies using Twitter investigate citizen engagement in the United States, there is limited work on online citizen engagement during elections in other contexts. As a result, we draw on the 2018 election in Brazil, one of the most contentious and polarizing elections in recent history. Overall, we look at the extent to which citizens come into contact with diverse ideological perspectives, and the extent of polarization among citizens. We investigate polarization within the network of retweets, as well as the role of media on serving as a broker between polarized users. We found that, in Brazil, the right-wing political network, although more homogeneous and polarized, proved to be less cohesive than the left wing political network, which in turn was more heterogeneous, by containing the largest proportion of neutral users. In addition, we found that traditional media still plays a neutral and bridging role among polarized networks, contradicting the common sense belief that the traditional media is also politically oriented. This maybe should already be expected, after all, when the traditional media is criticized by people from both sides, in a polarized matter, it is probably because it is not serving the interest of any of them.
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KOBELLARZ, Jordan K.; GRAEML, Alexandre R.; REDDY, Michelle; SILVA, Thiago H.. Parrot Talk: Retweeting Among Twitter Users During the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Election. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE SISTEMAS MULTIMÍDIA E WEB (WEBMEDIA), 25. , 2019, Rio de Janeiro. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2019 . p. 221-228.