Brazil’s supreme court on Friday blocked the messaging app Telegram across the country. It has since lifted the blockade. The block was imposed because Telegram failed to comply with repeated orders to remove channels spreading disinformation. The blockade was lifted when the messaging app took measures to combat fake news. This writes the American daily ‘The New York Times.
Brazil’s Supreme Court judge ruled on Friday to block Telegram because the company repeatedly refused to suspend the accounts of a number of individuals engaged in spreading fake news.
Brazil’s top judge overturned that ruling on Sunday after Telegram complied with a court order to make changes to its messaging app.
Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov says in a response that it was a miscommunication. Durov says the company has overlooked the emails from the Brazilian Supreme Court. According to Telegram’s CEO, the court used an old, generic email address to contact Telegram.
The order to block the chat app across the country never went into effect, as carriers had five days to comply with the ban. Telegram has functioned normally in Brazil all weekend.
Threat to freedom
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed his dismay on Friday at the decision to block the popular messaging app. The president, who actively uses Telegram for his election campaign, calls the statement “inadmissible”. It would also be a threat to “the freedom” of Brazilians. According to Bolsonaro, the ruling would even “cost lives, due to a lack of contact options between patients and their doctors”.
Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp and parent company Meta have blocked hate-mongering accounts on behalf of the judiciary. Telegram did not interfere with the content of the messaging app for a long time. This allowed the chat app to further develop into a popular conspiracy theory channel.
Telegram has pledged to actively monitor Brazil’s 100 popular channels ahead of the presidential election in October. The messaging service will also flag fake news and promote verified information.
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