A judge at the Brazilian Supreme Court has ordered the banning of the chat app Telegram in the country. According to Judge Alexandre de Moraes, the app has repeatedly refused to comply with court orders to ban accounts that spread misinformation or do not comply with the laws of the country.
The matter is seen as a major setback for right-wing populist President Bolsonaro, who has 1 million followers on Telegram and uses the app extensively in his campaign for re-election in October’s presidential election. Bolsonaro called the statement “unacceptable”.
According to Judge De Moraes, Telegram did not comply with a police request to block the profiles and messages associated with blogger Alan dos Santos. He belongs to Bolsonaro’s circle and is accused of spreading disinformation.
Also, Telegram does not have a legal representative in Brazil, while other chat service providers have such a representative. The judge says the idea to ban the app comes from the Federal Police.
In October, de Moraes issued an arrest warrant for Dos Santons, who now lives in the United States. The blogger tells a pro-Bolsonaro channel that the judge’s decisions are “based only on what de Moraes wants.” “There comes a time when he has to stop or be stopped,” he said. “I don’t think Brazilians will accept these atrocities.”
There was a misunderstanding, says Pavel Durov, one of the founders of Telegram. According to him, the Supreme Court used an old and public email address to contact Telegram. He asks the court to postpone the ruling for a few days so that Telegram can still comply with the judge’s demands.
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