X Agrees to Comply with Brazilian Court Orders, Reversing Previous Stance

Elon Musk's X (Twitter) reverses course, agrees to comply with Brazil's court orders on content moderation, setting a precedent for tech firms' adherence to local laws.

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Mazhar Abbas
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X Agrees to Comply with Brazilian Court Orders, Reversing Previous Stance

X Agrees to Comply with Brazilian Court Orders, Reversing Previous Stance

In a significant reversal, Elon Musk's social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has agreed to comply with all orders issued by Brazil's Supreme Court and Superior Electoral Court. This decision comes after a period of tension between the company and Brazilian authorities over the spread of disinformation and hate speech on the platform.

Lawyers representing X informed the Supreme Court in a letter that the company will adhere to orders placing restrictions on certain accounts as part of ongoing investigations. The move marks a dramatic shift from X's previous position, where its Brazilian unit had stated it was unable to control the US-based company's willingness to comply with the court's directives.

The dispute escalated when Musk criticized the court's decision to block certain accounts, calling the orders "unconstitutional" and demanding the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes. In response, Justice Moraes opened an inquiry into Musk over charges of obstruction of justice.

Under the new agreement, X has pledged to refrain from disobeying any court order and will face a daily fine of 100,000 reais ($19,740) if it fails to block specified accounts. The company has also disclosed that it has received a subpoena from the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, seeking information on court-ordered content moderation by the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Why this matters: The compliance of social media platforms with court orders and their role in combating the spread of disinformation and hate speech has become a global concern. The reversal by X in Brazil sets a precedent for how tech companies traverse the complex landscape of content moderation and adherence to local laws and regulations in different countries.

Justice Moraes is currently leading investigations into alleged "digital militias" accused of spreading fake news and hate speech during the tenure of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, as well as a probe into an alleged coup attempt by Bolsonaro supporters. X's decision to comply with the court's orders is expected to have significant implications for these ongoing investigations and the broader fight against online disinformation in Brazil.

Key Takeaways

  • X (Twitter) agrees to comply with Brazil's Supreme Court orders on content moderation.
  • X previously resisted court orders, leading to an inquiry into Musk for obstruction.
  • X will face fines if it fails to block specified accounts per court orders.
  • X received a subpoena from the US House Judiciary Committee on its Brazil content moderation.
  • The reversal sets a precedent for tech companies' adherence to local laws on disinformation.