BREAKING UPDATE: Brazilian Supreme Court justice opens inquiry into Elon Musk for obstruction of justice and incitement to crime, moves to remove X from telecom network

It appears Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes has taken the first steps toward shutting down the X social media platform across the country and has begun an inquiry into X and its owner Elon Musk for "obstruction of Justice" and "incitement to crime." This comes after a conflict between de Moraes and X owner Elon Musk.



X has also been probited from reactivating accounts that had been suspended and ordering a fine of $20,000 per profile if X does not submit to their order.

Andreza Matais, writing for Noticias UOL, said that representatives of de Moraes office reached out to the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) to find out how to go about removing X from Brazil.

Matais said that Anatel president Carlos Baigorri had already contacted the main telephone operators to stand by should the a court order to remove X be issued and carried out.

The Brazilian government blocked popular X accounts and censored posts and Musk called them out on that. Musk demanded to know why the Minister of the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil Alexandre de Moraes was censoring these accounts.



"This aggressive censorship appears to violate the law will of the people of Brazil," Musk said.



Musk said X would publish documents showing what Moraes demanded of the platform. "Coming shortly," he wrote, "X will publish everything Alexandre de Moraes demanded by and how those requests violate Brazilian law. This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil. He should resign or be impeached."



The owners of the accounts had been notified, per X.



"X Corp. has been forced by court decisions to block certain popular accounts in Brazil. We have informed those accounts that we have taken this action. We do not know the reasons these blocking orders have been issued. We do not know which posts are alleged to violate the law. We are prohibited from saying which court or judge issued the order, or on what grounds," the company said.

"We are prohibited from saying which accounts are impacted. We are threatened with daily fines if we fail to comply. We believe that such orders are not in accordance with the Marco Civil da Internet or the Brazilian Federal Constitution, and we challenge the orders legally where possible. The people of Brazil, regardless of their political beliefs, are entitled to freedom of speech, due process, and transparency from their own authorities," it added.

“Brazil is engaged in a sweeping crackdown on free speech led by a Supreme Court justice named Alexandre de Moraes,” Michael Shellenberger said.



"De Moraes has thrown people in jail without trial for things they posted on social media. He has demanded the removal of users from social media platforms. And he has required the censorship of specific posts, without giving users any right of appeal or even the right to see the evidence presented against them," he added.

Shellenberger’s reporting revealed that de Moraes and the Superior Electoral Court demanded that then Twitter “reveal personal details about Twitter users who used hashtags he did not like” as well as “access to Twitter’s internal data, in violation of Twitter policy.”
 

Additionally, the Brazilian official “sought to censor, unilaterally, Twitter posts by sitting members of Brazil’s Congress” as well as “weaponize Twitter’s content moderation policies against supporters of then-president Bolsonaro.”

The files displayed “the origins of the Brazilian judiciary’s demand for sweeping censorship powers; the court’s use of censorship for anti-democratic election interference; and the birth of the Censorship Industrial Complex in Brazil,” Shellenberger wrote.


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