WhatsApp bans more than 100000 accounts in Brazil election

Fernando Haddad Brazil's presidential candidate for the Workers Party is 18 points behind his rival

Fernando Haddad Brazil's presidential candidate for the Workers Party is 18 points behind his rival Credit Andre Penner AP

In Brazil, Social networking service WhatsApp has more than 120 million users, rivalling the reach of Facebook's main platform in one of the company's biggest global markets.

Facebook set up a " war room" to stem the tide of hate speech, false information and other damaging content during Brazil's election this month.

While the company said it was able to thwart false information on its main social network, it's had more trouble controlling misbehavior on WhatsApp, which is encrypted and virtually impossible to monitor.

Reacting to the report, WhatsApp announced Friday that it was taking "immediate legal action to stop companies from sending bulk messages".

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Bolsonaro, a former army captain, won the first round on October 7, getting 46 percent against 29 for Fernando Haddad of the Workers' Party that governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016.

Bolsonaro has denied any knowledge of such a scheme and called on any supporters doing so to stop.

With a career untainted by major corruption investigations, he has rallied voters fed up with years of graft scandals and economic mismanagement while the Workers Party was in power. Mr Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter that his opponent's party "isn't being damaged by fake news, but rather by the TRUTH".

Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Whatsapp logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. Meanwhile, the head of Bolsonaro's PSL party, Gustavo Bebianno, said he did not know the businessmen suspected of making donations.

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A large part of that comes from Bolsonaro's choice to be his economy minister: Paulo Guedes, a US-educated liberal economist who has talked of reducing Brazil's notoriously protectionist policies, selling off state assets to reduce the public debt, and streamlining taxes.

WhatsApp confirmed that it had blocked Flavio Bolsonaro's account for "spam behaviour" in recent days, for reasons unrelated to the Folha report.

The tech company said previously it had banned hundreds of thousands of accounts inside Brazil found to have engaged in spam or automated "bot" behavior ahead of the election. It also noted that it banned an account related to former Brazil president Dilma Rousseff, a member of the Workers' Party.

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