Brazil | Bolsonaro decree restricting the moderation of social networks

(Brasilia) Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Monday that changes the rules for moderating content on social media and, according to critics, could hamper the fight against disinformation.

Posted on September 6, 2021 at 10:34 pm

The decree, with immediate effect, which must be ratified by Congress in order to become legally binding, is intended to combat “the arbitrary and unjustified deletion of accounts, profiles and content by providers,” said the government’s communications secretariat.

The far-right president, who has already had content removed for spreading false information about COVID-19, describes the suspension of accounts or the removal of content that platforms have requested against him and some of his supporters as “censorship”.

The new provision makes a number of assumptions for which there would be a “fair reason” to remove content or block users (eg, commission of crime, violence) and impose new protocols on platforms for applying these blocks.

“This preliminary measure significantly limits the possibility of limiting abuse on our platforms,” ​​replied a Facebook spokesman in an email to AFP. The social network “corresponds to the statements of several specialists and lawyers who claim that the proposal violates constitutional rights and guarantees”.

Alessandro Molon, MP for the opposition and rapporteur on the text on Internet practice in Brazil (MCI), which came into force in 2014, assured that he was preparing an appeal to repeal the presidential decree.

“Your goal is not to protect freedom of expression, MCI is already doing that. He wants to prevent the disinformation and hate speech spread by him and his supporters from continuing to be removed from the platforms, “said the MP.

Jair Bolsonaro issued this decree on the eve of a day that promises tension: the head of state called his supporters to demonstrations in the main cities of the country this Tuesday the 7th in the event of a meeting with anti-Bolsonaro protesters.

Badly in the polls, where he is largely left behind by former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in terms of election intentions for the 2022 election, the former army captain is playing his game on Tuesday.

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