Facebook criticizes order to block accounts of Bolsonaro confidants

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Facebook has criticized the decision of a Supreme Court judge in Brazil who ordered that Jair Bolsonaro’s twelve confidants’ accounts be blocked. The order was “extreme”, threatened freedom of expression and violated laws and jurisprudence worldwide, the Internet giant said on Saturday. Facebook announced that it would appeal.

The Brazilian Supreme Court is investigating allegations that members of the inner circle around the far-right head of state are waging a social media campaign against the tribunal and threatening its judges. Judge Alexandre de Moraes initially ordered Facebook to temporarily block the accounts of the twelve suspects, while Twitter had to block 16 more accounts. Among other things, this should stop the spread of fake news.

The US companies followed suit, but they only prevented users in Brazil from reading the comments. As a result, the supporters of the barred people quickly found ways to log in via other countries to circumvent the ban.

Moraes therefore ordered on Thursday that the accounts in question must be blocked for all users worldwide. When Facebook initially refused, the judge fined the company 1.9 million reals (around 310,000 euros). He also invited the Facebook boss Brazil, Conrado Lester. Facebook then declared that it had no choice and blocked accounts worldwide. At the same time, it announced an appeal.

Facebook accounts affected include former Conservative MP Roberto Jefferson, businessman Luciano Hang, and militant right-wing radical Sara Winter.

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