Home Tech Elon Musk Is Platforming Far-Right Activists in Brazil, Defying Court Order

Elon Musk Is Platforming Far-Right Activists in Brazil, Defying Court Order

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Elon Musk Is Platforming Far-Right Activists in Brazil, Defying Court Order

A Brazilian court has announced it will open an investigation into X owner Elon Musk for obstruction of justice after Musk reactivated far-right accounts that the Brazilian government had flagged for removal. The announcement came afterwards Musk called that Judge Alexandre de Moraes, head of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), of Brazil’s Supreme Court ‘resigns or is impeached’, and a statement from X claimed that the orders to delete the accounts violate Brazil’s constitution.

Although the court has not released the list of accounts it requested for blocking or investigation, the São Paulo-based newspaper reports Stadão reported that it includes the fugitive far-right influencer Allan dos Santos, a supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro. (Dos Santos fled the country in 2020 to avoid investigation into spreading disinformation.) The list also includes right-wing YouTuber Bruno Aiub, known as Monark, who has more than 1 million followers on recognize the Nazi partyAnd Brazilian billionaire and Bolsonaro supporter Luciano Hang.

Separately, after acquiring the company, Musk reactivated Brazilian’s accounts to the far right politicians Carla Zambelli, Gustavo Gayer and Nikolas Ferreira. Ferreira, a supporter of Bolsonaro, openly asked questions the security of Brazil’s electronic voting machines, even though he won his local legislative race.

“All of these names have been problematic on social media for years,” said Flora Rebello Arduini, campaign director at the nonprofit Ekō. “They have been pushing for the far right and election misinformation for centuries.”

When Musk bought Twitter in 2022 and later renamed it X, many activists in Brazil feared he would abuse the platform to push his own agenda, Arduini says. “He has unprecedented broadcasting capabilities. He is bullying a Supreme Court judge of a democratic country, and he shows that he will use any means at his disposal to push for what advances his personal views or his professional ambitions.”

Under Musk, X has become a haven for the extreme right and disinformation. After his takeover, Musk offered amnesty to users banned from the platform. included right-wing influencer and convicted human trafficker Andrew Tate. A 2023 study found that under Musk’s leadership, hate speech on the platform increased. The situation in Brazil is just the latest example of Musk aligning himself with and providing a platform for dangerous, far-right movements around the world, experts tell WIRED. “It’s not about Twitter or Brazil. It is about a strategy of the global far right to overcome democracies and democratic institutions around the world,” said Nina Santos, a digital democracy researcher at Brazil’s National Institute of Science and Technology, who researches Brazil’s far right. “An opinion of an American billionaire should not count for more than a democratic institution.”

This also comes as Brazil has continued to work to understand and investigate the lead-up to January 8, 2023, when election-denying insurgents who refused to accept the defeat of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the Brazilian legislature. The TSE, the country’s electoral tribunal, is a special judicial body that investigates electoral crimes and is part of the mechanism that oversees the country’s electoral processes in general. The court has been investigating the spread of fake news and disinformation casting doubt on the country’s elections in the months and years leading up to the storming of the legislature on January 8, 2023. Both Arduini and Santos believe that the bills which Musk refuses to answer are probably related to the court’s investigation.

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