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Elon Musk's X nearing expulsion from Brazil?

Wednesday, April 24th 2024 - 21:36 UTC
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Brazil's Chief Prosecutor is known for wanting social media regulated Brazil's Chief Prosecutor is known for wanting social media regulated

Brazil's Federal Attorney General's Office (AGU) head Jorge Messias told Supreme Federal Court (STF) Justice Alexandre De Moraes that his agency was entertaining the idea of banning Elon Musk's social platform X from South America's largest country, Gazeta do Povo reported. Musk has repeatedly dubbed De Moraes a dictator with a robe after the magistrate ordered his company to suppress the accounts of some users who were deemed to be spreading fake news.

The publication explained that in a confidential message to De Moraes, Messias was considering asking the courts to suspend X's activities or even dissolve the company in Brazil if it is proven that it has jeopardized investigations by the STF and the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). Messias also presented De Moraes with a notice of fact which is a request to open a new investigation regarding the alleged leak of confidential information.

In Messias's view, X Brasil Internet Ltda. could be punished under the Anti-Corruption Law (12.846/2013), which holds companies responsible for acts against government agencies for “hindering the investigation or inspection activities of public bodies, entities or agents, or intervening in their activities.”

If the company is found to have engaged in such conduct, the AGU may apply a fine of up to 20% of its turnover. “But Messias told De Moraes that it would still be possible for the agency to ask the courts for more serious punishments,” Gazeta do Povo said.

Messias also opened an internal investigation into the alleged leak, called the Preliminary Evidence Gathering Procedure, to gather evidence against X Brasil Ltda. that would explain the request to De Moraes.

Earlier this month, Musk admitted X would be willing to cease operating in Brazil out of principles if the alternative was to remain subject to De Moraes' arbitrary rulings.

“This judge [Moraes] has imposed heavy fines, threatened to arrest our employees, and cut off access to X in Brazil,” the businessman posted. “As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to close our office there. But principles are more important than profit,” the South African tycoon said while announcing that he would be reinstating users banned from the platform, thus openly not complying with the magistrate's decisions.

In requesting De Moraes to share the evidence he may have, Messias said that “an enormous amount of information contained in judicial decisions, which had been granted secrecy of justice, had been disclosed, compromising ongoing investigations in both the Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Court regarding anti-democratic conduct that took place in Brazil and culminated in the acts of vandalism on January 8, 2023.”

“It is possible to infer that the facts narrated here have the potential to offend the legal sphere of the Union, considering that, in addition to violating the duty of secrecy on documents in their custody, they cause unwanted interference and harm the regular progress of judicial proceedings before higher bodies of the Judiciary,” he wrote.

”If it is proven that the disclosure of this confidential information and its use is the responsibility of company X (formerly Twitter) and its managers or employees, ... this could be interpreted as an attempt to unduly impact judicial or administrative proceedings in favor of the company,“ the prosecutor mentioned in his note to De Moraes.

Messias quoted De Moraes' previous rulings mentioning the ”felonious criminal instrumentalization“ of the social network to favor the dissemination of ”fraudulent news“ against the institutions by the so-called ”digital militias.“

Since Musk began criticizing De Moraes earlier this month, the prosecutor replied with verbal diatribes against the tycoon and X. ”There is an urgent need to regulate social networks. We can't live in a society where billionaires living abroad have control of social networks and are in a position to violate the rule of law by breaking court orders and threatening our authorities. Social peace is non-negotiable,“ the Attorney General posted on the platform on April 7.

On April 19, he expressed his ”unconditional support for the Supreme Court and all its members“ during a G20 event in Rio de Janeiro. ”In Brazil, we have good examples of platforms that are currently engaged with Brazilian authorities, building a model, a secure data processing protocol, in which Brazilian society is not at the mercy of so-called digital piracy.“

”Unfortunately, there are many others who prefer to ignore Brazilian legislation and often attack our democracy. For these platforms, we also have a message: the law will be applied rigorously,“ he added.

”Jorge Messias is one of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's (PT) main interlocutors with the STF and usually takes part in the PT's meetings with the Court's ministers,” Gazeta do Povo also explained.


Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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  • Terence Hill

    “Musk has repeatedly dubbed De Moraes a dictator with a robe after the magistrate ordered his company to suppress the accounts of some users who were deemed to be spreading fake news.”

    The magistrate is simply carrying out his sworn duty to uphold the law of the land, absolutly the antithesis of dictatorial. It follows the credo of 'do no harm'. There are legal limits to free speech especially in printed form. Such as “Shouting fire in a crowded theater” is a popular analogy for speech or actions whose principal purpose is to create panic, and in particular for speech or actions which may for that reason be thought to be outside the scope of free speech protections. The phrase is a paraphrasing of a dictum, or non-binding statement, from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919.

    Apr 25th, 2024 - 12:43 pm 0
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