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HomeNewsBrazil AG Calls for Social Media Controls Amid Clash With Elon Musk

Brazil AG Calls for Social Media Controls Amid Clash With Elon Musk

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A picture of Elon Musk and X logo
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Brazil’s attorney general has called for social media platforms in the country to be regulated after Elon Musk threatened to disobey a court order banning certain accounts on X and lashed out against “aggressive censorship.” In a post on X, Attorney General Jorge Messias wrote, “It is urgent to regulate social networks.”

“We cannot live in a society in which billionaires domiciled abroad have control of social networks and put themselves in a position to violate the rule of law. Additionally, failing to comply with court orders and threatening our authorities,” Messias added.

In response, the judge announced that he had opened an inquiry into what he called Musk’s obstruction of justice. News of the court order broke in a coordinated disclosure as part of Musk’s “Twitter Files.” Collaborating with several journalists has given them access to the social network’s internal records. Here’s all we know.

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The Released Evidence 

US writer Michael Shellenberger reportedly published more than two years of communications between Twitter’s legal team and Brazilian courts. He calls it evidence of “a sweeping crackdown on free speech.”

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Musk responded, calling the action “aggressive censorship” and committing to lift all restrictions. “This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees, and cut off access to X in Brazil,” Musk said.

“As a result of refusing to comply,” Musk predicted. “We will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. But principles matter more than profit.”

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A picture of Elon Musk
Source: Pinterest

However, within a few hours, Musk escalated his dispute. He promised to publish “everything” the Supreme Court justice demanded of Twitter. “This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil,” Musk said. “He should resign or be impeached.”

Musk Refused To Comply

In a statement, Brazil’s Supreme Court described Musk’s defiance as a “flagrant” obstruction of justice and said the police should investigate him. Supreme Court Justice Furthermore, Alexandre de Moraes announced that he would open an inquiry into the billionaire businessman who owns X.

This is the latest clash between authorities around the world and Musk. A self-declared “free speech absolutist,” Musk has relaxed X’s content moderation policies. He also reinstated several previously blocked accounts after buying the company, formerly known as Twitter, in 2022.

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Lawmakers Responded 

Orlando Silva, a Brazilian lawmaker aligned with the country’s left-wing government, said he would propose a “responsibilities regime for these digital platforms.” “We have reached the limit!” he posted on X, adding that Musk had disrespected the judiciary.

In addition, X’s global government affairs team posted that it had been “forced by court decisions to block certain popular accounts in Brazil.” Also, the team said they threatened them with “daily fines” for non-compliance.

“We do not know which posts are alleged to violate the law. We are prohibited from saying which court or judge issued the order or on what grounds,” they wrote. They added that they do not believe the orders are constitutional and will challenge them legally where possible.

What Is the Supreme Court’s Decision?

The Supreme Court ordered that the accounts be blocked as part of its ongoing investigation into “digital militias.” Furthermore, the court is looking into the spread of misinformation and incitement of crime under the government of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Social media platforms are famous as catalysts for the riots in Brazil that occurred on January 8, 2023. Hundreds of protesters broke into federal government buildings in the capital, Brasilia, in scenes reminiscent of the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot in the US.

ALSO READ: These States Plan to Ban the Sale of Gas-Powered Cars

Musk Made a Post

Musk suggested that Moraes was behind the ban. The billionaire CEO wrote on X that the judge had “brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil.” As a result, Musk said the judge should “resign.”

A picture of Elon Musk
Source: Pinterest

In a separate post, he called the court’s decision to block the accounts “aggressive censorship.” He says the decision “appears to violate the law and will of the people of Brazil.” Hence, he noted that X would defy the court’s order and lift all restrictions.

X has been criticized for accommodating government censorship demands in the past. For example, it blocked some X accounts in Turkey at the government’s behest ahead of the country’s elections last year while at the same time contesting the orders in court.

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