Brazil declared the so-called Internet war against Portugal after some Portuguese Internet users co-opted the satirical linguistic memes being used by their South American cousins. The memes in question used the lead-in "In Brazilian Portuguese, you don't say…" The joke format gained popularity on the Brazilian Internet in 2015.
The infinite war of memes between Brazil and Portugal….. I'm loving it x)— Yuki (@sparklingall) 16 июня 2016 г.
At the time, users replaced conventional phrases in English with funny Portuguese options that are common in Brazil in a bid to teach foreigners how to speak their language.
For example, a user wrote, "in Brazilian Portuguese, you don't say I love you. You say [I'll buy you a snack], which means endless love; and I think that's beautiful."
in brazilian portuguese you don’t say i love you you say “te pago um salgado” which means endless love and i think that’s beautiful— rodrigo (@rodrigoplss) 10 февраля 2015 г.
Subsequently, the account "We do not" appeared on Twitter, which began to post "In Portugal we do not say" memes; the hashtag #PrimeiraGuerraMemeal (the first war of memes) also gained momentum.
Most likely, the Portuguese did not expect any reaction when they took the Brazilian idea for the meme. The original definition of a meme, after all, is an element of a culture or system of behavior which can be transferred from one person to another.
However, as a result, Twitter saw scores of Brazilian tweets claiming that their nation was, in fact, "an intergalactic homeland of memes" and not to be trifled with by its former colonizers.
Brazilians quickly accused the Portuguese of stealing their idea for jokes, in what became a real war of memes, with both sides insulting the other, often with no knowledge of how or why the digital conflict began.
This Brazil vs Portugal "first great War of memes" would make a great @replyall episode.— Fernando Feitosa (@ffeitosa_) 15 июня 2016 г.
Users from both countries began to remember jokes about cultural differences between the two countries, and 'attacking' each other. For example, a Portuguese user named Valdir Furtado tweeted that "there is only hatred on the part of Brazilians in the list of my notifications; and when have they managed to lay the Internet in the favelas (ghettos)?" Afterwards, the tweet was apparently deleted.
But users were quick to respond to this caustic remark, and the tweets included the following.
@valdir_furtado tem favela na internet desde o dia em que vocês, ao invés de trabalharem, preferiram roubar os outros kkkk— Iago Maciel (@sant__iago) 14 июня 2016 г.
"The Internet appeared in our favelas just when you, instead of working, preferred to steal others' things," a user tweeted, referring, apparently, to the stolen joke.
essa imagem já fala o suficiente— ridricala AFTEAM (@tommoflick) 14 июня 2016 г.
BR x PT pic.twitter.com/HZ1WbRNkUV
"This picture says more than words," another user tweeted sarcastically.
Some users preferred to openly scoff at their rivals' weak points, including military power.
BR x PT a marinha portuguesa esta enviando seus Drones armados pra combater essa zueira brasileira pic.twitter.com/a1nOfGvosJ— THE ALLAN JOHN (@ALLANJOHND) 14 июня 2016 г.
"The Portuguese Navy sends drones in order to cope with all this Brazilian turmoil," a tweet read.
Also, users ironically referred in their tweets to the unity of the language and history of the two countries.
No Brasil vivia-se melhor quando aquilo era colónia do que agora, eu acho que esta guerra toda é só inveja/saudade Br x PT— Bin Laden (@AqueleMortoVivo) 14 июня 2016 г.
"In Brazil, we lived better during the colonial period than nowadays. I believe that this whole war is going on due to envy, or we just miss each other," this user tweeted.
Portugal: vocês roubaram nossa língua!— Gardênia Brito (@deniabrito) 15 июня 2016 г.
Brasil: meu amor quem invadiu aqui foram vocês, eu queria mesmo era falar inglês.#BRxPT
"Portugal: You have stolen our language! Brazil: my dear, it is you who have captured these lands. In fact, I would like to see English as our mother tongue," a tweet read.
Por culpa dos portugueses eu tenho que ficar usando o Duolingo pra aprender inglês #BRxPT— Andy (@andy_seven) 15 июня 2016 г.
"It's the Portuguese's fault; to learn English, I have to use the Duolingo program," according to another tweet.
portugal: ta tudo bem?— cry gabe (@kilgrav) 14 июня 2016 г.
portugal: é que voce tem agido meio estranho…
brasil: lembra em 1500
"Portugal: How are you? Brazil: So so. Portugal: Your behavior is strange. Brazil: remember the year of 1500, " a tweet says, in a clear reference to discovering Brazil during the initial phase of colonization.