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Elon Musk Is Investigated by Brazil’s Top Censor After Refusing To Comply With Censorship Demands

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Alexandre de Moraes, Brazil’s powerful president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and Supreme Federal Court (STF) justice, on Sunday ordered the federal police to launch a “digital militias” investigation – prompted by X owner Elon Musk’s “conduct.”

This was Moraes’ reaction to what is qualified as an “attacks and disinformation campaign” against him and the two courts. He was referring to a series of posts by Musk on Saturday and Sunday, which, among other things, called for Moraes to either resign or be impeached.

Musk was posting about restrictions imposed on accounts on X at the behest of Brazil’s authorities, and on Sunday said he would publish “everything demanded by (Moraes) and how those requests violate Brazilian law.”

Similar censorship efforts have been spearheaded by Moraes for years now, with his “claim to fame” moment being the role he played during Brazil’s presidential election in 2023.

In almost a carbon copy of what went on around the 2020 US vote, now former President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters were accused of spreading “misinformation” because they questioned the integrity of the ballot.

All this resulted in social platforms, including X, being ordered to censor content and accounts.

Now, after Musk first revealed that Brazilian authorities are forcing X to block several popular accounts without providing any justification, and then that he would “publish everything” Moraes demanded – Moraes came back with the police investigation.

He also used the opportunity to call for “urgent regulation” of social media in Brazil, effectively accusing Musk, as “a billionaire domiciled abroad,” of ignoring court orders, undermining the rule of law and democracy, and, “threatening (Brazil’s) authorities.”

This (over)reaction to Musk’s posts on X was supported by a pro-government member of the country’s lower house of the National Congress, Orlando Silva, who justified the order by saying, “We have reached a limit. It is a response in defense of Brazil.”

On the other hand, Musk also seems to have reached his limit in complying with censorship demands coming out of Brazil. Over the weekend he revealed that those orders come with a gag order prohibiting the platform from revealing which judge or court had issued them, and on what grounds.

Musk believes that Moraes is behind all this, and suggested that he should resign or be forced to step down, as he “brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the Constitution and people of Brazil.”

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