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Facebook bows to Brazil judge, blocks 12 accounts of Bolsonaro supporters

Facebook issued a statement saying it complied due to the threat of criminal liability for an employee in Brazil

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Facebook | Brazil | Supreme Court

AP  |  Brasilia 

Photo: Shutterstock
Facebook also argued it had complied with the previous order by restricting the ability for the target Pages and Profiles to be seen from IP locations in Brazil.

announced Saturday it has obeyed a Brazilian judge's order for a worldwide block on the accounts of 12 of President Jair Bolsonaro's supporters who are under investigation for allegedly running a fake news network.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes said Friday night that the company had failed to fully comply with a previous ruling ordering the accounts to be shut down, saying they were still online and publishing by changing their registration to locations outside

issued a statement saying it complied due to the threat of criminal liability for an employee in

But it called the new order extreme, saying it poses a threat to freedom of expression outside of Brazil's jurisdiction and conflicting with laws and jurisdictions worldwide. The company said it would appeal to the full court.

also argued it had complied with the previous order by restricting the ability for the target Pages and Profiles to be seen from IP locations in

People from IP locations in Brazil were not capable of seeing these Pages and Profiles even if the targets had changed their IP location, the company said.

Moraes said that Facebook ought to pay $ 367,000 in penalties for not complying with his previous decision during the last eight days.

He also had ruled Twitter should block the accounts. While Twitter said then the decision was disproportionated under Brazil's freedom of speech rules and that it would appeal, the targeted profiles were disabled.

Moraes is overseeing a controversial investigation to determine whether some of Bolsonaro's most ardent allies are running a social media network aimed at spreading threats and fake news against justices.

The probe is one of the main points of confrontation between Bolsonaro and the

The president himself filed a lawsuit last week demanding the accounts to be unblocked.

First Published: Sun, August 02 2020. 07:13 IST
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