Brazilian Officials Crack Down After Elon Musk Promises to Defy Court Order

( – Elon Musk has said that he will not comply with an order issued by Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexander de Moraes. Moraes ordered Musk to block some accounts on the social media platform X for spreading fake news, hate speech, and ideas that “undermine the Brazilian democratic state.”

Musk originally agreed with the order and some Brazilian accounts on X were restricted, then on Saturday, April 6th, a post by the company’s global government affairs team said Moraes had “forced” X to block more accounts in Brazil. The team said these orders were not following a Brazilian law that regulates internet activities or the Brazilian Federal Constitution.

Musk posted on Sunday that demands made by Moraes were the “most draconian” of any country, that he would not be blocking any more accounts and would be lifting all restrictions. According to Musk, Moraes has threatened to fine X $20,000 per day for each reactivated account, to have employees arrested, and to completely block access to X in Brazil.

Moraes’ crusade against “disinformation” had ramped up over the past year following social media posts about voter fraud that led to a riot when supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings. Moraes has ordered a federal investigation into Musk for his “disinformation campaign” against Brazil’s Supreme Court.

Musk acknowledged that X would most likely lose all revenue from Brazil and the company’s Brazilian office would probably be closed. He encouraged users in Brazil to use a VPN app to continue to gain access to the platform. Musk also said the demands made by Moraes violate Brazilian law and would be published on X.

According to Yazmin Curzi, a law professor at FGV Direito Rio, Brazil’s Civil Rights Framework for the Internet sets guidelines for online activities and does allow for suspension of content when there is a “well-founded fear of irreparable harm” as a provision for curbing the spread of false information.

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