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Bolsonaro signs new rule to limit powers of tech companies: What you need to know

Picture Courtesy: Reuters

Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, signed a new order today which aims to limit the powers of social media companies like Twitter and Facebook to remove contents and profiles which they deem to be untrustworthy or correct.

Mr. Bolsonaro said that this new order was required to protect ‘Freedom of Speech’. Since the start of the pandemic, many posts by Mr. Bolsonaro were removed by Twitter and Facebook as they were tagged as misleading. Profiles of many allies of Bolsonaro were also removed after they were accused of spreading misinformation.

The details of this order state that the social media companies have to provide "just cause and motivation” before they remove any content from their platform.

This new order comes a day before there is a ‘Pro-Bolsonaro’ rally organized in Brazil. This rally also coincides with the Independence day celebrations in Brazil. The supports of the President will protest against the country's Congress and Supreme Court, which have accused the President of spreading misinformation and are investigating him.

Since the start of the pandemic, Youtube has removed around 15 videos shared by President Bolsonaro for spreading misinformation about Covid-19. The videos that he shared supported the use of hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, and the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as treatments against the coronavirus.

Last year Facebook also remove many accounts of supporters of Bolsonaro after Brazil’s Supreme court order it to do so. President Bolsonaro has since then asked his followers to use alternative platforms such as Parler and Telegram.

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