The Program to Tackle Disinformation with a Focus on the 2020 Elections (Program) was launched by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) on August 30, 2019, with the objective of combating the negative effects, caused by disinformation, to the image and credibility of the Justice Electoral, the holding of elections and the actors involved in them.

The Program was structured into six components, each of which includes short, medium, and long-term actions: (i) internal organization; (ii) media and information literacy; (iii) containment of disinformation; (iv) identification and verification of disinformation; (v) improvement of the legal system; and (vi) improvement of technological resources. 

Based on this structure, the Program’s Strategic Plan was formalized, which contains its principles, normative frameworks and theoretical references, information on the management and execution of the program, the selection criteria for partner institutions, in addition to a detailed work plan, which established actions and measures to be implemented during the 2020 Elections. The purpose of this report is to present a balance of the actions developed and the results of the Program, as well as to assess the fulfillment of each goal stipulated in the work plan. 

In summary, in line with the main regulatory frameworks, theoretical references and international obligations in terms of the protection of freedom of expression, the Program was centered on non-regulatory and multi-sector strategies, with three pillars.

First, fight disinformation with information, by drafting and disseminating official, true, and quality information to citizens, so that they can vote in a conscious and informed manner.

Second, combat disinformation with training, by investing in training Electoral Justice servers and citizens so that they can understand the phenomenon of disinformation, expand their critical capacity, recognize false and fraudulent content, and access reliable sources of information.

Third, combat disinformation with a focus on behavior control and, exceptionally, with content control, especially through monitoring disinformation cases and practices, directing technological resources and preventive and repressive activities against inauthentic behavior, use of computer advertising, and coordinated actions to spread disinformation.  

The Program was aimed at combating a particularly harmful form of disinformation: that which turns against the integrity and credibility of the Electoral Process, i.e., false and fraudulent content that affects:

(i) the Electoral Process in its different phases, including the registration of candidacies and the instatement of those elected;

(ii) the functioning of the electronic ballot box and other aspects of the electronic voting process;

(iii) the Electoral Court, its members, employees and other collaborators;

(iv) the health security of the Electoral Process in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic; and

(v) other acts relating to the organization and conduct of elections (disinformation against the Electoral Process). 

The Program counted on the important contribution of more than 60 entities and organizations, which were willing to carry out concrete actions and measures to minimize the impacts of disinformation on the Electoral Process, in accordance with their respective institutional area of ​​action. Among these partnerships, those carried out with verification institutions, social media platforms, telephone companies, research institutions, civil society organizations, public agencies, and media associations stand out.