Brazil Lifts Telegram Ban After Two Days

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, election officials and federal police have been trying for months to get a response from the fast-growing messaging app Telegram. Turns out, all they had to do was ban it.

on Friday, Brazil’s Supreme Court blocked Telegram because the company behind the app was ignoring court orders.

Then, Telegram’s CEO suddenly responded – with a pedestrian excuse: his company had missed the court’s emails. “I apologize to the Brazilian Supreme Court for our negligence,” said Administrator Pavel Durov.

Telegram worked quickly over the weekend to comply with court orders, including deleting confidential information shared by President Jair Bolsonaro’s account and removing the accounts of a prominent supporter of the accused Mr Bolsonaro. spreading false information.

This action pleased the court. Late on Sunday, the court lifted the Telegram ban.

But Telegram went even further to avoid the ban. The practice has made a few more changes in Brazil to combat misinformation that has worried Brazilian officials ahead of the October presidential election. Among the changes, Telegram said it will start promoting verified information in Brazil and marking false posts as false, while also enabling employees to watch the 100 most popular channels in Brazil, which account for 95 percent of public posts in the country.

“The app has always been willing to cooperate with the authorities. “What happened was a misunderstanding about communications,” said Alan Thomaz, Telegram’s lawyer in Brazil, who was appointed Sunday as part of Telegram’s response to the court.

The annulment of the court was so swift that the ban never took effect. The court’s ruling gave two days a law, while giving prohibited internet providers, wireless companies, and Apple and Google five days to comply.

The ban was initiated and lifted by Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court judge who emerged as a prominent opponent of Mr Bolsonaro. He oversees multiple investigations into the president and his allies. Mr Bolsonaro criticized the ban, calling it “unacceptable” and his administration quickly challenged it in court.

Telegram has long been hands-free approach to the content in the apps that make it popular with right-wing users Those who complain that their views are censored on the more common social networks. This means that Telegram has become a major broadcast channel for Mr Bolsonaro, which has amassed around 1.1 million followers on the app. His biggest contender in the 2020 presidential race, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has less than 50,000.

Brazil is an important market for Telegram and losing access to the country would have been a huge blow to a company in the past. popularity is growing. According to Sensor Tower, an app data company, Telegram has been downloaded nearly 85 million times in Brazil since 2014, with 29 percent of those downloads coming in last year.

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