A Brazilian Supreme Court judge has ordered the closure of Telegram, a popular messaging service used by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, ahead of elections later this year.
Judge Alexandre de Moraes ordered the app to be stopped immediately across the South American nation in a ruling issued on Friday, citing the social media platform’s refusal to comply with instructions from Brazilian authorities and erase communications containing misinformation. Bolsonaro’s move comes as he prepares to run for re-election in October, relying on Telegram to bolster his support amid dwindling public support and criticism over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 issue.
Telegram Banned As They Failed To Follow New Policies
On the platform, the president has over a million followers. According to the judge, the corporation has consistently failed to comply with police, the Superior Electoral Tribunal, and the Supreme Court’s orders and demands. He mentioned a Supreme Court-ordered probe into charges that the Bolsonaro government utilized official communication channels to disseminate false material. Bolsonaro has publicly feuded with Moraes, who has demanded him to be examined personally in the matter.
On Friday, the president went to Twitter, tweeting a link to join his Telegram channel, which was still active in Brazil in the afternoon.
Telegram’s creator and CEO Pavel Durov have just released a statement explaining why the service has been suspended by Brazil’s Supreme Court, and the explanation is astonishing.
It was because his firm was verifying the wrong email address, according to the message, which you can read in full below or on Durov’s Telegram channel. The corporation claims to have located those emails (implying that the previous address was at least functional, which makes it even weirder that the emails were somehow overlooked) and is working with the court to resolve the matter. The ban has a lot of political contexts, which arises from allegations that Telegram aids the spread of disinformation, as my colleague Adi Robertson explains in this report. But, according to Telegram, the whole affair boils down to a problem we all have: keeping track of emails.