Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, is a master of social media

POLITICIANS START working only when Carnival ends, Brazilians joke. This year explosive tweets from the president, Jair Bolsonaro, delayed the serious business of reforming pensions and cleaning up crime and corruption. On March 5th the president posted a video of one Carnival reveller urinating on another in an act of performance art. “This is what many Carnival street parties have become,” he lamented. Some Brazilians cringed, but the tweet got 87,000 likes.

Then on March 10th Mr Bolsonaro excoriated a journalist from Estado de S. Paulo who is investigating his son, Flávio, a senator from Rio de Janeiro. EstadãoMentiu (“EstadoLied”) became the top trending topic on Twitter in Brazil. The bar association criticised the president. But he has not taken down either tweet.

Mr Bolsonaro relies on social media even more than does Donald Trump, some of whose views of the world he shares. They are due to meet in Washington on March 19th. Unlike the American president he does not hold raucous rallies. In contrast to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a left-wing former Brazilian president who is now serving a prison sentence for corruption, he does not relish physical contact with his supporters. He largely avoids appearances on the main television stations. Instead, Mr Bolsonaro reaches most Brazilians in...

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