Investigated Content: A card with a graphic representation of the patrimonial evolution of President Jair Bolsonaro (427%) and his children, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro (397%), from PL-RJ, and Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (432%), from PL- SP, compared to the increase in gasoline prices (116%).
Where it was published: Facebook
Completion of the Test: The post that compares the evolution of the Bolsonaro family’s assets with the increase in the price of gasoline is misleading. The numbers shown in the post, originally made by the office of Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE) and later reproduced in several accounts, refer to different time intervals. There is an indication of the period of one year only in the price of gasoline, which suggests that the other numbers, referring to the president’s family, also refer to the same period.
To Comprova, the senator’s office informed that the origin of the data are press articles (1, 2 and 3) and a survey carried out by Dieese (Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies) together with the Single Federation of Oil Workers (FUP) .
The 116% increase in the price of gasoline that appears in the investigated image was calculated from a period of three years, from January 2019 to January 2022, and not a year, as the post indicates. The evolution of the assets of politicians took place in different periods and greater than that indicated for the growth in the value of gasoline.
The increases in the assets of President Jair Bolsonaro and his son Flávio take into account a 12-year interval (from 2006 to 2018). And the evolution of Eduardo Bolsonaro’s assets considers yet another time interval, four years, between 2014 and 2018.
Also, the bars of the chart used in the post are disproportionate and have non-standard sizes. As a result, the reader’s interpretation may be incorrect.
For Comprova, misleading is content that uses inaccurate data or that leads to an interpretation different from the author’s intention; content that confuses, with or without the deliberate intent to cause harm.
Scope of publication: On the profile of Senator Humberto Costa on Facebook alone, the publication reached more than 4,100 reactions and 3,400 shares until May 12th.
What the author of the publication says: Humberto Costa’s adviser points out that the family’s patrimonial value is attested by public data, published by journalistic vehicles, and that the fuel variation was calculated by Dieese, “an unsuspected body, which, equally, guides articles in the press.”
Asked about the difference in periods to which the numbers refer, which makes comparisons impossible, the advisory reaffirmed its position. “All data placed on the card has official sources declared and has been published by the press. We maintain all published information and contest your ‘checks’,” the note reads.
How we check: The Comprova team consulted the TSE database, which contains data on the declaration of assets of candidates for elective positions, and identified the evolution of the assets of the president and his children.
On the internet, he also found articles that make reference to this growth, both by his father and by Eduardo and Flávio Bolsonaro.
The report also checked the ANP database, which presents, among other information, the average price of regular gasoline since July 2001.
Finally, Comprova sought the advice of Senator Humberto Costa, who created the card and posted it.
Bolsonaro family heritage
In each election, municipal, state or federal, the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) presents detailed data on all candidates who have applied for registration to the Electoral Court and on their electoral accounts and those of political parties. According to the senator’s advice, they were based on the publication of reports, which used this database to build the graph.
According to the Court’s accounts, Jair Messias Bolsonaro declared R$ 433,934.48 in 2006, when he was trying to be elected federal deputy for the fifth time. In the race for the Presidency of the Republic, in 2018, the candidate stated that he had a total of BRL 2,286,779.48.
The asset list includes five houses, four vehicles and shares on the stock exchange. Jair Bolsonaro’s wealth grew by 427% between 2006 and 2018. The value is the same used for the post on Facebook.
The president’s eldest son, Flávio Bolsonaro, was a candidate for state deputy for Rio de Janeiro initially in 2006 and tried for the same position in the two following elections. In the meantime, between 2006 and 2014, his assets went from R$385,000 to more than R$714,000.
In 2018, when he ran for senator, he informed the TSE that he had BRL 1,741,758.15. The value includes an apartment, a commercial room and economic investments. From 2006 to 2018, the politician’s wealth increased by 352.40%. The percentage is different from the one used by the post.
Data on Eduardo Bolsonaro are more limited because his first candidacy was in 2014, so there is only information about his patrimony from that period onwards. Another article that based the post is from the UOL portal and indicates that Eduardo Bolsonaro’s equity in 2014 was R$205,000, equivalent to R$262,000 in 2018, corrected for inflation.
In the last state elections, the candidate declared that he owned assets totaling R$1.395 million, indicating an expansion of 432% during the period. With the changes, the value is correct. When checking the data in the TSE, Comprova found that the growth exceeds 580% without taking into account taxes.
The authors of the publication stated that they used a Dieese survey that appears in an article on the Yahoo portal. This is a survey carried out by the department together with the Unique Federation of Oil Workers (Fup), an organization that declares itself as an “autonomous entity, independent of the State” and which represents “13 affiliated unions”.
In a post on its official website, Fup states: “Since January 2019, the beginning of the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, gasoline has increased by 116%, compared to an inflation of 20.6% in the period. increase was 100.1%, and in diesel, 95.5%, according to data from Petrobras, analyzed by Dieese”. Therefore, the 116% increase refers to the period between January 2019 and January 2022.
Between 2006 and 2018, the average price of regular gasoline went from R$2,559 to R$4,447, that is, an increase of 73.77%. The fuel values were determined by the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP). In these 12 years, inflation measured by the Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA) was 94.29%.
Why we investigate: Comprova investigates suspicious content that went viral on social media about the covid-19 pandemic, public policies of the federal government and presidential elections. In this case, the target of the disinformation is President Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-candidate for reelection, and his family. Content of this nature, which does not provide accurate data, is harmful because it confuses voters who are entitled to make their choice based on correct information.
Other checks on the topic: The election period has been contaminated by disinformation content frequently. Only in the last few days, Comprova has already proved to be misleading a video in which Lula calls a Petrobras employee corrupt, that a young man who satires leftist militants is not the daughter of a PT deputy and that publication takes Djavan’s statement about Law out of context. Rouanet and support for Bolsonaro.
This content was investigated by Metrópoles and A Gazeta. The investigation was verified (reviewed) by CBN Cuiabá, Nexo, O Estado de S. Paulo, O Dia, Correio Braziliense, Correio de Carajás, SBT and SBT News. The check was published on the Comprova Project website on May 12, 2022.
Fabíola Cidral tells how to recognize fake news right away