October 18, 2018 / 3:07 PM / a month ago

Brazil president candidate Haddad accuses rival of spreading false news

Fernando Haddad, presidential candidate of Brazil's leftist Workers' Party (PT), attends a meeting with evangelical pastors in Sao Paulo, Brazil October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian presidential hopeful Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers Party accused his right-wing rival Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday of creating a criminal group along with businessmen to spread false election-related messages on WhatsApp.

The spread of false information on social media has become widespread in the lead-up to Brazil’s Oct. 28 presidential runoff, which Bolsonaro is expected to win. Haddad’s comments in a radio interview came after newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported on Thursday that business people were buying data packages of up to 12 million reais ($3.26 million) to spread false messages on WhatsApp in violation of Brazilian law.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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