Worried about the spread of election “misinformation” immediately after the election, Brazilian federal prosecutors have asked WhatsApp to delay the launch of Communities until January, two months after the upcoming election in October.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in Brazil and among supporters of current President Jair Bolosonaro, who has been accused of spreading misinformation, including claiming that the electronic voting system is fraudulent.
In April, WhatsApp owner Meta agreed to postpone the launch of Communities, a new feature, until the end of October. In a recent statement, federal prosecutors said that that time was still not enough to address the “serious risks that an increase in disinformation can generate in the last two months of the year.”
According to the prosecutors, the new feature would come “at a time when fake news about the functioning of institutions and the integrity of the Brazilian voting system could jeopardize the democratic stability of the country.”
Communities expand the number of members in a group from 256 to 512 and allow sending messages to 2,560 people. According to the prosecutors, the feature would increase the shareability of polarizing content.