Brazil reverses its decision to block Telegram

Considering that his requests had been “fully satisfied” and that the online messaging had complied with court orders, the judge of the Brazilian Supreme Court finally revoked, Sunday March 20, “the decision to completely and completely suspend the operation of Telegram in Brazil”.

On Friday, Judge Alexandre de Moraes had asked the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to carry out “the complete and integral suspension of the operation in Brazil of Telegram”until the latter “follows judicial orders” which were imposed on him.

The next day, he gave the platform a twenty-four hour deadline after Pavel Durov, the platform’s founder, apologized to the Supreme Court and claimed it was a simple ” communication problems “. “It looks like we had a problem with emails between our corporate addresses and the Supreme Court of Brazil”defended Mr. Durov, assuring that he had because of that not been able to take cognizance of the requests addressed by the Court.

Alexandre de Moraes had decided to block the popular online messaging system, widely used by far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and his networks seven months before the presidential election, accusing him of not doing what is necessary to combat the spread of false information, refusing to block the account of Allan dos Santos, a Bolsonarist blogger under investigation for misinformation, or failing to cooperate in child pornography cases.

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Tools put in place

According to Judge Moraes, Telegram has since announced that it has adopted several measures to combat misinformation. Among them, the “manual” monitoring of the 100 most popular channels in Brazil, the possibility of reporting publications deemed inaccurate, the restriction of profiles that spread disinformation and the promotion of verified information.

The judge also asked for the deletion of a publication by Mr. Bolsonaro dating from August, in which he questioned, without providing evidence, the reliability of the electronic voting system in Brazil, in place since 1996.

Since Saturday, this publication is no longer visible. “This message cannot be displayed” because “it violates local laws”is written instead.

Very popular in Brazil, especially among supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro, Telegram is present on 53% of phones in the country. This application of Russian origin, whose headquarters is currently based in Dubai, known for exercising almost no moderation, was a keystone of Mr. Bolsonaro’s campaign strategy. His Telegram account thus has more than a million subscribers, compared to 48,000 for his likely opponent in the October election, the left-wing ex-president Luiz Iñacio Lula da Silva.

On Friday, President Bolsonaro denounced the judge’s initial decision, putting, according to him, in danger the ” freedom ” Brazilians. On Saturday, the government filed an appeal with another Supreme Court judge, saying the email blocking was “disproportionate”.

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The World with AFP

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