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Brazil blocks access to Telegram throughout the country

A judge of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ordered this Friday the blocking of the Telegram messaging platform in Brazil for “not collaborating with the authorities and not combating disinformation,” according to a decision published on the institution’s official website.

Judge Alexandre de Moraes He stated that the platform “stopped responding to court orders” on several occasions and determined “the complete and comprehensive suspension of the operation of Telegram in Brazil.” The popular platform is installed in 53% of cell phones in the countryaccording to the Superior Electoral Court.

Telegram is a chat service like WhatsApp, with the difference that it also allows access to information channels that are public.

The order, issued in a precautionary manner, is a response from Justice to the non-compliance by those responsible for Telegram with numerous subpoenas in processes that investigate the mass dissemination of false news in Brazil, which are precisely in charge of Judge De Moraes.

In recent months, Telegram has become the main messaging medium used by the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, and the far-right groups that support him, who began to migrate to that service after much of its content was blocked. on other platforms for lying or offensive.

Why Brazil blocks Telegram

Alexandre de Moraes, judge of the court of Brazil. Reuters photo

“The Telegram application is notoriously known for its position of not cooperating with judicial and police authorities of various countries” and even uses that “attitude” as an “advantage in relation to other communication systems“, De Moraes indicated in the document in which he justified the precautionary measure.

The magistrate added that, due to this refusal to collaborate with the judicial authorities, Telegram operates “in a free field for the proliferation of various contents, including with repercussions in the criminal area”.

De Moraes also stressed that Justice, through the Federal Police, tried “numerous times” to establish contact with Telegram representatives in the country, but never received a response.

“The Telegram platform, on all those occasions, stopped attending to the judicial command, in a total contempt for the Brazilian Justice“added the magistrate.

In his decision, which responds to a request from the Federal Police, the judge asked the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to “immediately adopt all the necessary steps to make the measure effective.”

He also asked the companies Apple and Google in Brazil and internet providers to adopt mechanisms within five days to make the use of the application in the country unfeasible.

Among the orders not fulfilled by Telegram, Moraes cites the request to block profiles related to the Bolsonaro blogger Allan dos Santos, investigated for spreading disinformation, and also the lack of collaboration in cases of sexual abuse of minors and child pornography.

He also recalls that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Brazil tried unsuccessfully to summon representatives of Telegram to a meeting so that the company would collaborate in the fight against disinformation in the face of the presidential elections in October, as the networks Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Instagram, YouTube and Kwai.

Bolsonaro is concentrating his militancy in Telegram groups and channels, after seeing some of his posts on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook deleted due to false information.

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