Sat. May 25th, 2024

A Supreme Court judge in Brazil has initiated an investigation into Elon Musk following the entrepreneur’s criticism of the magistrate and accusations of censorship for blocking social media accounts believed to be disseminating disinformation. In a directive disclosed to AFP, Judge Alexandre de Moraes accused the owner of a major social network, referred to as “X,” of engaging in “criminal instrumentalization” of the platform.

Judge Moraes emphasized that the aforementioned social network must adhere to judicial directives, which include refraining from reactivating any accounts that have been ordered to be blocked by the Supreme Court. Moraes warned Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest individual, of potential fines amounting to approximately $20,000 for each reactivated account.

In recent times, Moraes has taken action to suspend Twitter accounts suspected of spreading false information. Asserting the importance of legal adherence within social networks, the judge underscored, in capitalized letters, that “social networks are not lands without laws.”

Over the weekend, Elon Musk utilized X, the platform formerly recognized as Twitter, which he acquired in 2022, to launch a series of criticisms directed at Moraes. Musk called for the resignation or impeachment of the judge, alleging violations of Brazil’s constitution and the rights of its citizens.

Moraes’s firm stance on combating disinformation has drawn both praise and condemnation. Critics, including Musk, have accused him of contributing to a broader crackdown on freedom of speech in Brazil. Moraes has notably overseen measures to block accounts of influential individuals on social media, many of whom are supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, a far-right politician, was declared ineligible for future electoral candidacy by the Moraes-led Superior Electoral Tribunal in 2023, on grounds of disseminating false information about Brazil’s electoral system. Moreover, Bolsonaro faces investigation over an alleged coup attempt following his electoral defeat in 2022 against the current leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Subsequent to Musk’s criticisms, Brazil’s Attorney General, Jorge Messias, called for immediate regulation of social networks. Emphasizing the need to uphold the rule of law, Messias denounced the actions of foreign billionaires who, he implied without direct mention, threatened the authority of Brazilian institutions by disregarding judicial orders.

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