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Elon Musk Praised by Bolsonaro in Surprise Trip to Brazil

Elon Musk’s efforts to buy Twitter Inc. received the enthusiastic backing of President Jair Bolsonaro during his surprise visit to Brazil

Bolsonaro and Musk -Courtesy
By Walter Brandimarte and Simone Iglesias
May 20, 2022 | 02:58 pm

Bloomberg — Elon Musk’s efforts to buy Twitter Inc. received the enthusiastic backing of President Jair Bolsonaro during his surprise visit to Brazil, where allegations of fake news spreading through social media are a hot issue ahead of October’s presidential election.

The world’s richest man was invited by the Brazilian government to discuss investment in the country, implementation of new technology to monitor Amazon deforestation and a plan to take broadband Internet to far-flung regions, including rural schools and indigenous communities, the communications ministry said in a statement on Friday.

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But it was the purchase of Twitter that was highlighted by Bolsonaro when the two men spoke to a group of business leaders and students gathered at a hotel about 70 miles from Sao Paulo, where the meeting took place.

“We received your announcement about the purchase of Twitter as a breath of hope,” Bolsonaro told Musk, calling him a protector of freedom. “The whole world is suffering with people who are willing to steal that freedom from us.”

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Musk has become even more popular among Bolsonaro’s supporters after announcing he wanted to take control of Twitter to defend “free speech.” The Brazilian president himself has had several social media posts taken down by Twitter and Facebook after the companies determined he was spreading falsehoods about topics including the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety of Brazil’s electronic voting system.

Bolsonaro, who’s being investigated in Brazil for allegedly spreading fake news, has been stepping up his rhetoric against the country’s top court and its electoral authorities, raising concerns that he could dispute the result of the October election if he were to lose.

Musk, answering questions from students before Bolsonaro’s remarks, spoke about the positive impact of self-driving cars on the economy, with the opening of more posts to develop the technology and the vehicles than the closure of driving jobs.