Brazil World Cup Sees Unprecedented Social Media Coverage, Outrage
In football terms, the jury "is still out on whether Brazil 2014 will be the best World Cup ever," but it is already "perhaps the most globally politicised tournament in decades," according to Jonathan Watts of the London GUARDIAN. Politicians from across the spectrum "have chipped in on a sporting event that has generated bigger TV audiences and more social network chatter than any in history." Dave Zirin, author of "Brazil's Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the fight for democracy," believes that Brazil "has prompted a level of political discussion not seen for many years." Zirin: "It's profoundly more dramatic in this Cup than any in the last 30 years or so." But what really makes this year's tournament stand out "is the unusually critical focus on Fifa, the increasing interest in the sport in the US and the scale of debate on social networks." Brazil "has broken records on Facebook and Twitter." The Brazil-Chile match generated 16.4 million tweets, "surpassing the record" previously held by this year's Super Bowl. The tournament "also racked up an unprecedented" 1 billion Facebook interactions by June 29, with two weeks "still left to the final." It is "tempting to look for ideological faultlines in the global chatter about the World Cup." But the political boundaries "are too blurred to do that with much clarity." Instead, it is "probably more accurate just to say that there are more ways to chat, more people in the discussion, and more at stake than ever during this World Cup; so any politician worth his or her salt is trying to take advantage of this extraordinary platform" (GUARDIAN, 7/7).