Brazil restricts removal of internet content

The New York Times: “The new social media rules, issued this week and effective immediately, appear to be the first time a national government has stopped internet companies from taking down content that violates their rules, according to internet law experts and officials at tech companies. And they come at a precarious moment for Brazil. …

“Under the new policy, tech companies can remove posts only if they involve certain topics outlined in the measure, such as nudity, drugs and violence, or if they encourage crime or violate copyrights; to take down others, they must get a court order. That suggests that, in Brazil, tech companies could easily remove a nude photo, but not lies about the coronavirus. The pandemic has been a major topic of disinformation under Mr. Bolsonaro, with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all having removed videos from him that pushed unproven drugs as coronavirus cures. …

“Far-reaching though they are, the new rules probably won’t last, according to political and legal analysts who track Brazil. Mr. Bolsonaro issued them as a so-called provisional measure, a type of emergency order intended to address urgent situations. Such measures expire in 120 days if Brazil’s Congress does not make them permanent. Some members of Congress have already publicly opposed the measure, and five political parties and a Brazilian senator have filed lawsuits with the nation’s Supreme Court seeking to block it.”

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