Brazilian Federal Supreme Court Justice Alexandre De Moraes has ordered the communications and social media application Telegram to expel Bolsonarist influencer Allan dos Santos from the platform or face a 48-hour ban in addition to a fine.
De Moraes ruled the messaging app could be taken off the air for 48 hours and have to pay a fine of R$ 100,000 (US $ 19.369,14) if it did not comply. But it did.
The judge reached his decision after finding the Brazilian blogger had been spreading hate speech and false information.
Three channels of the blogger were blocked: Allan dos Santos, TV Terça Livre and Article 220 and users find a message announcing this channel cannot be shown because it violates local laws.
In a video that went viral shortly after the channels were blocked, Allan dos Santos said Brazil was no different to China, Cuba, and North Korea. Guys, correct the information. It's not that my channel was taken down. It's that Brazil is equal to China, equal to North Korea, equal to Iran. You who are in Brazil cannot access it. In the United States, they can access [his Telegram channels] normally, because here they are in a free country.
It's not that Telegram overthrew it. Telegram, unfortunately, gave in to legal pressure, because who judges the judges? Telegram said that I would have violated Brazilian laws.
And who said that was a judge. How is Telegram going to tell a judge that I didn't do that? But it's not that my channel was taken down. It's working normally. And full of views. It just so happens that you're in Brazil. You are in the same situation as those who are in Cuba, those who are in North Korea, Iran, China. And who will need VPM, he says in the video.
“VPM is a piece of software that allows users -for a fee- to pretend they are online from a country different than from where they actually are. It is frequently used for broadcasts of music and sports events for which local stations have exclusive TV rights,” a hacking specialist consulted by MercoPress explained.
Allan dos Santos is under investigation by the STF for allegedly spreading false information – the so-called fake news. The case includes threats to members of the Court. The other inquiry is focused on the reported funding of undemocratic acts. In October, De Moraes had ordered the blogger's preventive detention in addition to ordering the Ministry of Justice to immediately start the extradition process. From his own words, it can be deduced that Dos Santos is somewhere in the United States.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro had spoken earlier this month of a “dictatorship of the pen.” His comments were believed to be aimed at the STF. “What is the difference between a dictatorship made through weapons, like those of Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, with a dictatorship that comes through pens? There is no difference, and you know what is happening in Brazil.”
The STF is also investigating Bolsonaro for spreading “fake news” regarding the trustworthiness of the country's electronic ballot system ahead of the Oct. 2 presidential elections.
Bolsonaro had also singled out STF Justices Luis Roberto Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes for rulings against him and investigations into the president, including one for spreading false news about COVID-19. “Barroso and Alexandre de Moraes want Lula to be president,” Bolsonaro said in a television interview.
De Moraes oversees five investigations into the president, including one into comments from him falsely associating COVID-19 vaccines with AIDS.