Brazil's Superior Electoral Court (TSE) has plans to impose new rules on social platforms to deal with what the court's controversial president and justice of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Alexandre de Moraes calls “extreme right wing populists.”
The proposal will be put before the country's Congress, De Moraes revealed during a business conference. He specified that the proposal should offer rules to prevent such “extremists” from “capturing” social media sites.
He also told his audience attending the Lide group-organized gathering, that measures adopted by a commission formed in the Superior Electoral Court will now be presented to the Congress to ensure it approves “mechanisms” that would regulate social media.
Related: Brazil plots law against “anti-democratic” online speech
De Moraes further addressed the danger of democracies being “attacked from within” and in this context called for “instruments” to be used both at national and international level in order to hold those deemed as perpetrators accountable.
The Brazilian official also spoke about “international trafficking of ideas against democracy” that needs to be stopped.
De Moraes seemed particularly keen on expanding the new rules from domestic to international legislation, with the goal of defending against social media's alleged ability to undermine pretty much the entire order of the world as we know it: democracy, the rule of law, institutions.
Furthermore, he thinks that social networks are now not technology but media companies and should be treated the same way as their traditional “counterparts.”
With this, De Moraes wants to make sure that social media are as liable for abuses that concern “fake news and hate speech” and disclosure, as legacy outlets.
His comments come against the backdrop of Brazil's contested presidential election, after which supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro – of whom De Moraes is a fierce political enemy – protested and rioted at several top national institutions, including the Congress and the Federal Supreme Court buildings.
Eerily reminiscent of the events after another bitterly contested presidential election – that of 2020 in the US – negative reaction to these protests, that took place on January 8, also involved blaming social media as “tools for spreading false news and calling for anti-democratic acts.”
However, De Moraes and the court he presides over have been accused of trampling on democracy and violating constitutional rights related to free speech during the electoral cycle.