Brazil’s Supreme Court Investigates Elon Musk on Suspicion of Spreading Fake News

Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes has ordered the inclusion of multibillionaire Elon Musk among the people investigated in the inquiry into digital militias, which investigates the alleged criminal activities of groups suspected of spreading fake news on social networks to influence politics.

In the same decision, announced late on Sunday (Apr. 7), Justice Moraes ordered the opening of a preventive inquiry into the conduct of Musk, owner of the social network X (formerly Twitter), among several other companies.

According to the justice, the inclusion of the executive in the digital militias inquiry was motivated by the possible “deliberate criminal instrumentalization of social network X.”

The opening of a new case comes as a result of Musk’s recent statements, such as that he would release X user accounts suspended by Brazilian court decisions, which Justice Moraes classifies in his decision as possible obstruction of justice and incitement to crime.

“I also order social network provider X to refrain from disobeying any court order already issued, including any reactivation of an account whose blocking has been ordered by this Supreme Court or by the Superior Electoral Court, under penalty of a daily fine of 100 thousand reais (about US$ 20,000) per account and liability for disobedience to the court order of those legally responsible for the company in Brazil,” Justice Moraes stated.

Criticism

The justice made his decision a day after the multibillionaire published the first in a series of posts on social media criticizing the justice as well as the Supreme Court. Last Saturday (April 6), Musk used the comments section of the justice’s profile on X to attack him.

In another publication, also on Saturday, Musk promised to lift all judicial restrictions, claiming that Justice Moraes had threatened to arrest X employees in Brazil. Early on Sunday afternoon (April 7), shortly before the minister made his decision public, Musk accused Justice Moraes of brazenly and repeatedly betraying the Constitution and the Brazilian people. Arguing that Moraes’s demands violate Brazilian law itself, Musk called for the justice to resign or be removed from office.

Shortly afterwards, he recommended that Brazilian internet users use a virtual private network (VPN) to access all the platform’s resources blocked in Brazil.

Disinformation campaign

In his sentence, Justice Moraes maintains that, on April 6, the owner of X “began a campaign of disinformation about the actions of the Supreme Court and the Superior Electoral Tribunal, reiterated on April 7, instigating disobedience and obstruction of justice, also concerning criminal organizations.”

He also cites another probe, from 2019, which looks into evidence of the dissemination of false news, slanderous accusations, threats, and other infractions, to point out that the “criminal instrumentalization of social network providers and messaging services for [the commission of] the widest practice of criminal activities on social networks” is “evident.”

“I would like to emphasize that it is unacceptable for any of the representatives of the providers of social networks and private messaging services, especially the former Twitter, now X, to be unaware of the criminal instrumentalization that has been carried out by digital militias in the dissemination, organization, and expansion of countless illicit practices on social networks, especially in the serious attack on the democratic rule of law and the attempt to destroy the Supreme Court, the National Congress, and the Planalto palace—the Brazilian Republic itself—especially after the attempted coup of January 8, 2023,” Justice Moraes stated, recalling that he himself had met on different occasions with representatives of the main digital platforms to discuss “the real danger of criminal instrumentalization.”

ABr

Tags:

You May Also Like

The Final Hours of Brazil’s Once All-Powerful Couple: Lula and President Rousseff

Suspended Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s former economy minister testified Saturday that Rousseff did not ...

President Jair Bolsonaro with military brass

Brazil President’s Courtship with a Coup Leads to Mass Resignation of Armed Forces Heads

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro Tuesday accepted the resignations of the current heads of the ...

The Mercosur countries: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay

Mercosur Seems Close to a Breakthrough in the Negotiations with European Union

Brazil’s presence and participation in Mercosur has continued to develop significantly in recent months. ...

US president Donald Trump

What Brazil and Latin America Can Teach About a Donald Trump’s Conceivable Impeachment

Some Americans and members of Congress have called for the impeachment of President Donald ...

Lula goes up to presidential office Planalto Palace with representatives of Brazilian society and his mongrel Resistance / Tânia Rego, ABr

Lula Becomes President a Third Time Vowing to Rebuild Brazil from the Ruins

Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as president on Sunday, returning ...

Jair Bolsonaro

The Rise of Jair Bolsonaro : Understanding Brazil’s Culture Wars

In the lead up to Brazil’s election second round, polls show far-right candidate former ...

Bribocracy: Called Brain Behind Corruption Scheme, Lula Can Get Over 30 Years in Prison

Federal prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol accused former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of being ...

Brazil has no tradition of investigating military personnel - Paulo Pinto/ABr

A New World for Brazilian Military. They Are Being Prosecuted and Arrested

Almost 60 years after the 1964 military coup in Brazil, members of the country’s ...

A Simple and Practical Proposal to End Brazil’s Child Labor

Virgílio was 12 years old. His childhood was divided between attending school sporadically and ...