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Brazil to launch investigation into Elon Musk in fierce disinformation dispute

Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be investigated by a Brazilian Supreme Court judge for spreading false news and allegedly obstructing justice.

Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote in his decision that the CEO of X, formerly known as Twitter, began a public “disinformation campaign” against the actions of Brazil’s Supreme Court. Musk reportedly still disagreed with the ruling the next day, posting on social media that the company would stop complying with court orders to block certain accounts.

The Associated Press quoted De Morais as saying that the judge said: “Blatant obstruction of justice in Brazil, incitement to commit crimes, public threats to disobey court orders and the platform’s future non-cooperation are all facts that disrespect Brazil’s sovereignty. “

Brazilian authorities have stepped up efforts to curb the spread of misinformation and hate speech on social media. X initially complied with the directive. However, the company reiterated in a post on Saturday that Brazilians “deserve freedom of expression regardless of their political beliefs.”

The crackdown on disinformation follows riots in January 2023, when thousands of supporters of Brazil’s right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in Brasilia.

The judge said in a media release that if X does not comply with the order to block specific accounts, the company will be fined 100,000 reais ($19,740) per day.

Deputy Attorney General Jorge Messias supported the move, writing on Put in a position that violates the rule of law, fails to comply with court orders and threatens our authorities.”

Why Elon Musk is under investigation in Brazil for ‘fake news’

In an X post on Sunday (April 7), Musk accused Justice De Moraes of “blatantly and repeatedly betraying the Brazilian Constitution and people” and believed that he “should resign or be impeached.”

Musk then told users they “can still access the X platform and download virtual private network (VPN) apps.”

On Saturday, Musk said that As a result, he said the company “may lose all revenue in Brazil and may have to close our offices there.”

Last year, De Moraes launched an investigation into executives at social messaging platform Telegram and Alphabet’s Google who led a campaign against proposed internet regulation bills.

In December, the social media platform failed in its attempt to overturn a California law aimed at regulating harmful content on social media platforms.

Featured image: Canva / Elon Musk / Royal Society

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