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    Fight for freedom of speech in Brazil – social media censorship attempts

    Another battle in the struggle for free speech online is playing out in Brazil. At the behest of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Twitter and Facebook have put severe restrictions on the accounts of several activists and journalists critical of the Supreme Court and supporting President Jair Bolsonaro. The accounts of journalists Allan dos Santos and Bernardo Kuster could initially only be seen by people who live outside of Brazil, but were later restricted to all users.

    Twitter and Facebook made the accounts invisible after a Supreme Court order, a move that underlines the tricky territory the social media titans are navigating in some of the world’s largest jurisdictions.

    Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the removal of 16 Twitter accounts and 12 Facebook accounts on Friday, a decision tied to an ongoing probe into the alleged dissemination of disinformation by supporters of the right-wing President Bolsonaro.

    Among the purposes of the “fake news” investigation, as it is known in Brazil, is to discover if misinformation and threats against Supreme Court officials are being funded illicitly.

    Critics say that the court is in effect being a judge in its own case.

    Some of Brazil’s most popular right-wing journalists, such as Allan dos Santos and Bernardo Kuster, have now been muzzled.

    According to Moraes, Friday’s order was meant to stop the accounts from “being used as a means of committing possible criminal conduct.”

    The reaction among Brazil’s conservatives was swift, with numerous calls urging the court to respect the right to freedom of expression and opinion on social media.

    A vast majority of the judges on the court were appointed by previous left-wing presidents and have spared no energy on criticizing President Bolsonaro


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