Musk Defies Brazilian Court Order To Block Accounts, Country Opens Inquiry For ‘Obstruction Of Justice’

by State Brief


X owner Elon Musk announced the platform would defy Brazil’s Saturday order to block accounts in the country.

On Saturday evening, X said the platform had been “forced” to remove “certain popular accounts” from X, per a Brazilian court’s decision.

“We have informed those accounts that we have taken this action,” X wrote in a statement. “We do not know the reasons these blocking orders have been issued. We do not know which posts are alleged to violate the law.”

The platform was reportedly “prohibited” from disclosing which court, judge, or grounds from which the order was issued. X was also prohibited from disclosing which accounts were impacted by the order.

“We are threatened with daily fines if we fail to comply,” the statement continued. “We believe that such orders are not in accordance with the Marco Civil da Internet or the Brazilian Federal Constitution, and we challenge the orders legally where possible.”

“The people of Brazil, regardless of their political beliefs, are entitled to freedom of speech, due process, and transparency from their own authorities,” X added.

Later Saturday, Musk recanted X’s previous statement and announced the platform would instead lift “all restrictions.”

“This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to 𝕏 in Brazil,” Musk continued. “As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there.”

Musk concluded his statement by asserting, “Principles matter more than profit.”

The X owner’s decision came in response to independent journalist Michael Shellenberger’s Wednesday Twitter Files report on Brazilian “crackdown on free speech” by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes.

“De Moraes has thrown people in jail without trial for things they posted on social media,” Shellenberger wrote of the Brazilian justice. “He has demanded the removal of users from social media platforms. And he has required the censorship of specific posts, without giving users any right of appeal or even the right to see the evidence presented against them.”

According to Shellenberger’s report, de Moraes and the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court “illegally demanded” the identity and personal details on X users who used hashtags which de Moraes found objectionable.

De Moraes also demanded access to X’s internal data in violation of the platform’s policies. The Brazilian justice also attempted to “censor, unilaterally, Twitter posts by sitting members of Brazil’s Congress,” and “sought to weaponize Twitter’s content moderation policies against supporters of then-President Jair Bolsonaro.”

Lower Brazilian house members Carla Zambelli of former President Jair Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party and Marcel van Hattem of the NOVO party were reportedly targeted by de Moraes for sharing posts which the Brazilian Supreme Court deemed “misinformation.”

On Sunday, Musk announced the platform would soon publish “everything demanded” by de Moraes and demonstrate how his requests violate the country’s laws.

“This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil,” Musk wrote. “He should resign or be impeached.”

“Shame Alexandre, shame,” Musk added.

Shortly after the announcement, Musk suggested Brazilians employ the use of a virtual private network (VPN), which masks a user’s location when online, after fear of access to the platform being blocked by Brazil emerged.

On Sunday evening, de Moraes opened an inquiry into Musk and X for “obstruction of justice” and “incitement to crime.”

“Providers of social networks and private messaging services should have neither more nor less responsibility than other media, communication and advertising media, especially when they direct or monetize the data, information and news conveyed on their platforms, earning revenue,” reads de Moraes’ statement.

The statement continued:

The conduct of the “X” configures, in theory, not only abuse of economic power, for trying to impact public opinion in an ILLEGAL way but also flagrant induction and instigation to the maintenance of various criminal conducts practiced by the digital militias investigated in INQ 4,874, with worsening of the risks to the security of the members of the SUPREME FEDERAL COURT – as is easily verified by the various messages with hate content made in support of those posted by ELON MUSK – and the Democratic State of Law itself, whose protection is the priority cause of the establishment of the aforementioned INQ. 4,781; in addition to obstruction of Justice in criminal organizations investigated in INQs 4923, 4933 and PET 12100 and clear attack on the Brazilian Judiciary.

“The flagrant conduct of obstruction of Brazilian Justice, the incitement to crime, the public threat of disobedience to court orders and the future absence of cooperation of the platform are facts that disrespect the sovereignty of Brazil and reinforce the connection of the DOLOSA CRIMINAL INSTRUMENTALIZATION of the activities of the former current TWITTER “X”, with the illicit practices investigated by the various investigations previously mentioned, and should be the subject of investigation by the Federal Police,” the statement concluded.





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