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26 Jan, 2023 13:05

Brazil fines Telegram

The messaging app will have to pay more than $236,000 for not suspending accounts of the former president’s supporters
Brazil fines Telegram

Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes has fined messaging app Telegram for failing to comply with a previous court order, which required it to suspend accounts belonging to the former president’s supporters.

The previous ruling was made in January as part of an inquiry into acts of vandalism in public buildings in the country’s capital. It obliged the messaging service to block five different accounts belonging to congressman-elect Nikolas Ferreira and others “to stop the spread of criminal manifestations.”

According to the Supreme Court, Telegram has been fined 100,000 Brazilian reais (about $20,000) per day for non-compliance with the ruling, bringing the total fine imposed on the company to $236,527. The court gave Telegram five days to pay.

“The malicious non-compliance by the providers involved indicates, objectively, consent with the continued perpetration of the crimes under investigation,” the ruling said.

In a letter to Moraes, Telegram said no specific criminal content was identified in the order and asked for it to be reconsidered, CNN reported.

“No grounds or justifications were provided for the complete blocking of said channel, that is, the specific contents that would be considered illegal were not presented,” the company said in the letter, noting that Ferreira was an elected official. The congressman received the most votes of any candidate in the 2022 election, reaching 1.47 million.

The Supreme Court accepted that Telegram had partially complied with the order, but requested clarification on which specific content to remove from the platform. 

Last March, Moraes ordered the suspension of Telegram, claiming that the messaging app had repeatedly refused to adhere to judicial orders to freeze accounts spreading disinformation. The suspension was revoked days later after the company complied with the requests.

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