Brazilian Supreme Court reverses Telegram blockade

Brasilia.- The judge of the Supreme Federal Court (STF) of Brazil which had ordered the suspension of the Telegram messaging application reversed its decision this Sunday, after the company complied with all the judicial determinations that had motivated the blockade.

“Considering that the court’s orders were fully complied with, “I revoke the decision (published last Friday) to completely and fully suspend the operation of Telegram in Brazil,” Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote in a document released by the STF.

The suspension of this key platform for the electoral strategy of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro was never put into practice, so Telegram continued to function normally over the weekend.

After the announcement of the suspension, the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, of Russian origin, apologized to the supreme court and said that the breaches that led to the blocking were due to a “communication problem” due to misplaced e-mails, asking more time to attend court orders and avoid blocking.

On Saturday, the judge granted 24 more hours for the company to comply with all the requests, including appointing a legal representative in Brazil, suspending certain profiles and detailing before the court what measures it takes to combat disinformation.

According to Moraes, the company reported having adopted various measures to combat disinformation, including “manual” surveillance of the 100 most popular channels in Brazil, the possibility of flagging channel-specific posts as inaccurate, restricting profiles that spread disinformation and the promotion of verified information.

Bolsonaro post removed

The judge also requested the removal of a publication by Bolsonaro from August last year in which the president questioned, without evidence, the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system, in force since 1996.

Since Saturday, the publication was not available: “This message cannot be displayed” because “it violated local laws”, it said instead.

Bolsonaro, who has more than a million followers and numerous support groups on Telegram, had called the suspension “inadmissible” and said it threatened “the freedom” of Brazilians.

The president has been concentrating his militancy in Telegram groups and channels for months, after seeing some of his posts on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook deleted due to false information.

Telegram, which is based in Dubai, is installed on 53% of Brazilian cell phones and is the fastest growing platform in the country, according to the Superior Electoral Court.

The application, which has been banned or restricted in several countries such as India and Russia, had long been in the sights of the Brazilian judicial authorities, especially upset with the fact that the company had no legal representation in Brazil and did not respond to their requests. demands to avoid an avalanche of disinformation in the next elections, like the one that rocked the 2018 electoral campaign.

Last year, the electoral justice of Brazil tried to meet, without success, with representatives of Telegram so that the company would collaborate in the fight against disinformation in the face of the presidential elections in October, as Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google promised. , Instagram, YouTube and Kwai.

Unlike other applications, Telegram allows groups of up to 200,000 people, unlimited user channels and little content moderation, so the potential for one to go viral is infinite.

Also, it has secret chats and messages can self-destruct.

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