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Telegram works with Brazilian government to ban support for pro-Bolsonaro protesters

Telegram joined by YouTube, Facebook

Posted by

January 10, 2023


10:58 AM

Telegram works with Brazilian government to ban support for pro-Bolsonaro protesters

Telegram and other social media platforms Monday announced a ban on content supporting protesters who broke into Brazil’s Supreme Court, presidential office and Congress on Sunday. 

Millions of Brazilians have spent months protesting the presidential election, declared in October for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a Left-wing former president who was imprisoned for corruption. Many insist the election was fraudulent and continue to demand that Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro retain his seat. 

For over two months, demonstrations have plagued Brazil’s cities and streets after voting machine audits found significant voting regularities which may have helped Lula cross the finish line with 50.7% of the vote, the narrowest margin in Brazil’s history. 

Lula has vowed to punish Sunday’s protesters, and social media platforms appear to have followed suit, according to Reuters

Telegram, a favorite among freedom activists for its privacy and security, said it is working with Lula’s government to ban content supporting the protesters. 

“Telegram is a platform that supports the right to free speech and peaceful protest,” said the platform’s spokesperson. “Calls to violence, however, are explicitly forbidden on our platform. Our moderators use a combination of proactive monitoring in public-facing parts of our platform in addition to accepting user reports, in order to remove such content.” 

Unsurprisingly, Facebook also announced a ban. 

“In advance of the election, we designated Brazil as a temporary high-risk location and have been removing content calling for people to take up arms or forcibly invade Congress, the Presidential palace and other federal buildings,” a spokesman for Meta, which runs Facebook, told the outlet. “We are also designating this as a violating event, which means we will remove content that supports or praises these actions. We are actively following the situation and will continue removing content that violates our policies.” 

For its part, YouTube said it was “closely tracking” the situation in Brazil and would remove content “inciting violence”, a phrase the company used in 2021 to justify banning President Donald Trump. 

"Our Trust and Safety team is removing content that violates our Community Guidelines, including livestreams and videos inciting violence," said a YouTube spokesperson. 

"In addition, our systems are prominently surfacing authoritative content on our homepage, at the top of search results, and in recommendations. We will remain vigilant as the situation continues to unfold." 

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