Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro recently announced the temporary restriction on social media networks that bans the removal of certain content, including his posts that he would only lose the presidential elections next year if he was cheated.
The official's decision marks his latest attempt to control what people can post and say on the internet. Earlier this week, the new social media rules were issued and became effective immediately. They mark the first time the national government has banned online companies from taking down specific content that violates their rules and regulations. They also come during a chaotic time in Brazil.
Bolsonaro's Social Media Restrictions
Throughout the years, Bolsonaro has used social media to express and expand his political movement and become seated as the nation's president. Recent polls show that the official is expected to lose next year's presidential elections if they were held today. This has forced the president to use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to claim the illegitimacy of the vote.
Bolsonaro repeated his claims on Tuesday of rigged elections. He addressed thousands of supporters in two cities as part of Brazil's Independence Day and nationwide demonstrations, the New York Times reported.
The Brazilian president's new policy would only allow tech companies to remove posts if they involve certain topics, including nudity, drugs and violence, or if they encourage crime or violence. If they wish to remove other content centered around a different topic, they would have to get a court order.
The new policy suggests that tech companies in Brazil would find it easier to remove a nude photo compared to taking down misinformation regarding the coronavirus. Bolsonaro has been a major spreader of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, where he used Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to post his claims, which have all been removed by the sites.
Bolsonaro's decree said it aimed to fight against "arbitrary and unreasonable removal of accounts, profiles and content by social network providers." A government press release added it would need approval from Congress to protect "users' rights to freedom of expression," EuroNews reported.
Fight Against the Supreme Court
The incident comes after the Brazilian president stepped back from a battle against the Supreme Court. The decision is expected to boost markets after Bolsonaro urged Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes to step down. The Brazilian president said he would no longer comply with the official's rulings, a decision that widened the gap between the leader and the judiciary.
Pro-Bolsonaro truckers on Thursday sought to support the president in his battle with the Supreme Court. They blocked highways across the country, threatening the travel of suppliers in key export routes. Bolsonaro later released a statement to seek the smoothing of his argument with the Supreme Court.
After Bolsonaro's statement, the country's currency surged dramatically, getting a 1.8% boost when compared to the dollar. The currency previously lost 4% on Wednesday after Bolsonaro's controversial statements but Brazil's Bovespa stock index (.BVSP) increased by 1.7% on Thursday, following his latest comments regarding the presidential office's tussle with the Supreme Court, Reuters reported.