In Brazil, President Bolsonaro issues a decree to limit the moderation of social networks

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday, September 6, issued a decree that changes the rules for moderation of content on social networks and could, according to critics, hamper the fight against disinformation.

The decree, with immediate effect but which must be ratified by Congress for it to have the force of law, aims to combat “The arbitrary and unjustified deletion of accounts, profiles and content by suppliers”, explains the government communications secretariat.

The far-right president, who has already had content removed for disseminating false information about the Covid-19, describes « censure » the suspension of accounts and the removal of content that the platforms have applied against him and that of some of his supporters.

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New protocols imposed on platforms

The new provision establishes a series of assumptions for which there would be a “Just cause” to remove content or suspend users (for example being guilty of crimes, violence) and impose new protocols on platforms to apply these suspensions.

“This interim measure significantly limits the ability to restrict abuse on our platforms”, reacted a spokesperson for Facebook in an e-mail sent to Agence France-Presse. Social network “Is in line with the expression of several specialists and jurists, who claim that the proposal violates constitutional rights and guarantees”.

Alessandro Molon, opposition deputy and rapporteur for the text governing Internet practice in Brazil (MCI), in force since 2014, assured he was preparing an appeal to invalidate the presidential decree.

” His goal [celui du chef de l’Etat] is not to protect freedom of expression, MCI already does. What he wants is to prevent the disinformation and hate speech that he and his supporters disseminate from continuing to be removed from the platforms ”, reacted the parliamentarian.

Jair Bolsonaro took this decree on the eve of a day that promises to be tense: the Head of State called on his supporters to demonstrate in the main cities of the country this Tuesday, September 7, the national holiday, and Outbursts of violence could arise in the event of meeting with anti-Bolsonaro protesters.

Read also Dissemination of false information: Jair Bolsonaro targeted by Supreme Court investigation

The World with AFP