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Brazil’s Top Court Lifts Ban on Telegram After Content Removal

Brazil’s Supreme Court lifted a ban on Telegram after the popular messaging service complied with a court order that included removing posts from President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel

An August 2021 survey found that over half of smartphone users had downloaded Telegram.
By Felipe Marques and Andrew Rosati
March 21, 2022 | 09:02 am

Bloomberg — Brazil’s Supreme Court lifted a ban on Telegram after the popular messaging service complied with a court order that included removing posts from President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who had banned the service on Friday, revoked his previous court order in a decision Sunday. The Telegram ban was part of a widening investigation into what local authorities describe as fake news and hate speech in the lead-up to Brazil’s presidential elections in October.

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Telegram appointed Alan Campos Elias Thomaz, a Brazilian lawyer, as its local legal representative, Moraes said in his decision. The firm said it’s “certain that such lapses won’t happen in the future.” It asked for a “chance to demonstrate that we have significantly improved our procedures,” in a message signed by Telegram’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Pavel Durov that Moraes cited in his decision.

Durov claims that he had missed emails requesting the removal of problematic posts.

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Thomaz will have “direct access to our top management, which will ensure our ability to respond to urgent requests from the Court and other relevant organizations in Brazil in a timely manner,” according to Durov’s message.

President Bolsonaro and his allies have pushed supporters to embrace the London-based platform, after popular apps such as Twitter and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook took down posts containing false information about Covid-19. Bolsonaro had called the ban “unacceptable” late Friday evening, alleging it could affect some 70 million Brazilians who rely on the platform. There’s no official data on how many users Telegram has in Brazil.

While WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, continues to be more popular in Brazil, an August survey found that over half of smartphone users had downloaded Telegram.