Brazil's President restricts which posts social networks can remove

Daniel Sims

Posts: 400   +17
Staff
What just happened? This week, the president of Brazil issued a decree temporarily setting new rules for which posts social networks can remove. It is the first time a government has tried to stop social media companies from taking down content that violates their rules.

According to the new rules, social networks can only immediately take down content involving violence, drugs, or nudity, or if they encourage crime or violate copyrights. Removal of any other content will require a court order. The Brazilian government's Twitter account said the decree "forbids the removal of content that may result in any kind of 'censorship of political, ideological, scientific, artistic or religious order.'"

Most notably, misinformation about topics like Covid-19 or elections will require social media companies to seek a court order. This new decree comes only a few weeks after YouTube removed videos from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for spreading alleged misinformation about Covid-19. The New York Times notes that social media companies have 30 days to update their policies before facing penalties from Brazil. It is unclear how this will affect the way social media content appears outside of Brazil.

"You can only imagine how hard it would be for a big platform to get a judicial order for every single piece of disinformation they find," said Rio de Janeiro State University law professor Carlos Affonso Souza.

YouTube said it is still analyzing the rules before it makes any changes. Even if it can't remove content, it will still find ways to warn users about misinformation. Facebook is concerned the decree will limit its ability to stop online abuse and may violate constitutional rights. Twitter is also concerned about the new decree's effect on Brazilian internet law.

The measure itself may, in fact, only be temporary. Those tracking law and politics in Brazil told NYT the president's decree is a stop-gap order designed for emergencies. It may expire in 120 days if Brazil's congress doesn't make it permanent.

Permalink to story.

 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 682   +1,081
Brasil is back to being under a military dictatorship.
It seems to be the opposite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship_in_Brazil
Brazil is very politically open (hence the mandate for social networks to stop deleting any political expressions), it’s started publicly recognizing the crimes of its prior military regime, and lately has been allowing for increased gun ownership (after previously restricting it in 2004): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control_in_Brazil
These aren’t things a military dictatorship would do; it would create tremendous opposition to them.
 

winjer

Posts: 406   +1,858
It seems to be the opposite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship_in_Brazil
Brazil is very politically open (hence the mandate for social networks to stop deleting any political expressions), it’s started publicly recognizing the crimes of its prior military regime, and lately has been allowing for increased gun ownership (after previously restricting it in 2004): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control_in_Brazil
These aren’t things a military dictatorship would do; it would create tremendous opposition to them.

The goal of this law is not to improve political speech, but to make sure that the regime's propaganda is not impeded in any form. Regardless of truth or lies, he wants to make sure that he gets to speak.

Increasing gun ownership, especially in a crime ridden country like Brasil will only result in more deaths. Brasil already has some of the highest gun deaths per capita of any country in the world.
What Brasil needs is to improve it's police forces, not to have more cowboys with guns.

And yes, increasing gun ownership is something that a dictatorship would do.
This is exactly what the nazi party did when they came to power in Germany. Revoking laws that restricted guns in the hands of civilians. And making sure that the undesirables couldn't get guns.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 574   +1,052
Most notably, misinformation about topics like Covid-19 or elections
I asked before and I'll ask again: what does mean?

What does Covid-19 or elections misinformation mean?


I'm pretty sure the word "misinformation" is used exactly the opposite by the media, of what it should be used for...

And if that's the case, who is doing the "misinformation" then?

Everyday you can see more and more how white becomes black and black becomes white, good becomes evil and evil becomes good. This is the age of twisted meanings and misinformation, but not by who you think...

Let's see if my post gets deleted because the question is inconvenient and it's against the media propaganda.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
A very dangerous development for the constitutionally protected freedom of speech in Brazil.

All of the exceptions to freedom of speech that they had until now are carefully defined in law.
For this President to come along and add politically convenient restrictions by decree, without going through the legislature, is a shocking breach of democratic principles unworthy of a serious country.

Hopefully, Bolsonaro will be soundly rejected in the 2022 elections, as other incompetent authoritarians of his ilk have been.
 

nodfor

Posts: 209   +369
A very dangerous development for the constitutionally protected freedom of speech in Brazil.

All of the exceptions to freedom of speech that they had until now are carefully defined in law.
For this President to come along and add politically convenient restrictions by decree, without going through the legislature, is a shocking breach of democratic principles unworthy of a serious country.

Hopefully, Bolsonaro will be soundly rejected in the 2022 elections, as other incompetent authoritarians of his ilk have been.
Reality check. He is not restricting speech, he puts more requirements in place before a social media platform can restrict speech.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
Reality check. He is not restricting speech, he puts more requirements in place before a social media platform can restrict speech.

Upside down and incorrect.

Only government can restrict speech, and only through legislation.

Social media can merely define how customers are allowed to use their platforms, which has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Introducing new punishments for freedom of expression outside of existing legally defined limitations is illegal in most democratic countries, and in the case of Brazil, unconstitutional.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,419
Upside down and incorrect.

Only government can restrict speech, and only through legislation.

Social media can merely define how customers are allowed to use their platforms, which has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Introducing new punishments for freedom of expression outside of existing legally defined limitations is illegal in most democratic countries, and in the case of Brazil, unconstitutional.
This applies to the social media agenda, it’s not about freedom of speech. It’s just being done to make sure that Facebook, who have strong political agendas do not interfere with Brasils politics like they have in several other countries.

We have so many examples of removed posts because of “misinformation” that are either an opinion or actually turned out to be factually true. Besides, the law allows Facebook to still remove misinformation, they just need the approval of a judge - a third party.

This is such great news, Facebook controls so much information in so many countries and they have strong political agendas (they donate money to many political candidates worldwide). They need to be stripped of this power. Yes Facebook is a private company but they effectively own the digital town square. people who use these services should have rights. Especially as Facebook ensure nobody is allowed to compete with them.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
This applies to the social media agenda, it’s not about freedom of speech. It’s just being done to make sure that Facebook, who have strong political agendas do not interfere with Brasils politics like they have in several other countries.

Sorry, no. Intention is really not relevant here. And agendas are not illegal.

What matters is that the Brazilian executive is clearly acting unconstitutionally, putting arbitrary restrictions in place. Nobody ought to be cheering that on, ever, no matter how they feel about Bolsonaro, or Facebook, or anything really.
 

Fergutor

Posts: 37   +33
So, for the moment, apparently restricting corporations that monopolize the country's discussions and "narratives" from censoring citizens is:
-"military dictatorship."
-"make sure that the regime's propaganda is not impeded in any form"
-"A very dangerous development for the constitutionally protected freedom of speech in Brazil. (!!!!!!)"
-"punishments for freedom of expression " (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

What a time to be alive...
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
So, for the moment, apparently restricting corporations that monopolize the country's discussions and "narratives" from censoring citizens is:
-"military dictatorship."
-"make sure that the regime's propaganda is not impeded in any form"
-"A very dangerous development for the constitutionally protected freedom of speech in Brazil. (!!!!!!)"
-"punishments for freedom of expression " (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

What a time to be alive...
Governments need to follow the law, just like everybody else.

I am sorry there are so many that do not understand how critically important that is.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 682   +1,081
The goal of this law is not to improve political speech, but to make sure that the regime's propaganda is not impeded in any form. Regardless of truth or lies, he wants to make sure that he gets to speak.

Increasing gun ownership, especially in a crime ridden country like Brasil will only result in more deaths. Brasil already has some of the highest gun deaths per capita of any country in the world.
What Brasil needs is to improve it's police forces, not to have more cowboys with guns.

And yes, increasing gun ownership is something that a dictatorship would do.
This is exactly what the nazi party did when they came to power in Germany. Revoking laws that restricted guns in the hands of civilians. And making sure that the undesirables couldn't get guns.
From what I can tell (in the linked Wikipedia article from my last post), deaths by homicide in Brazil doubled with an increase in gun control and reduced gun ownership. But I don't study Brazil's society so I'm not claiming it's a direct result of that. I agree with you that improving police forces in Brazil would have the best impact on crime. Meanwhile in other countries (such as Australia), it seems that gun control have a very small effect on homicides: https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-that-australias-gun-laws-reduced-gun-homicides/

In Nazi Germany, gun ownership was extremely restricted before Hitler came into power so the reduction of gun control meant very little considering it was still restrictive years after Hitler was in power. Here's more information on that; in it gun control advocates do not believe gun regulation had any effect on the Nazi party's power: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_gun_control_argument
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,419
Sorry, no. Intention is really not relevant here. And agendas are not illegal.

What matters is that the Brazilian executive is clearly acting unconstitutionally, putting arbitrary restrictions in place. Nobody ought to be cheering that on, ever, no matter how they feel about Bolsonaro, or Facebook, or anything really.
Hmm, I dont think this is unconstitutional. But if it is believe me Facebook will fight it. If it is then the judges will overturn it.

But regardless of that, facebook actively campaigns to remove its competitors. If you want to be on social media, facebook have ensured you can only use their platforms, save for Tik Tok. They effectively control the largest online social platforms and users do not have a choice to go anywhere else. The digital public space is privately owned.

If one man owned your local public square, parks and footpaths and started imposing penalties on people who speak against their agenda you would get something very similar as to what happened in Germany in the early 20th century.

This is effectively happening online and the sympathisers are going; "but facebook privately own the only place you can socialise online so its ok".
 

winjer

Posts: 406   +1,858
From what I can tell (in the linked Wikipedia article from my last post), deaths by homicide in Brazil doubled with an increase in gun control and reduced gun ownership. But I don't study Brazil's society so I'm not claiming it's a direct result of that. I agree with you that improving police forces in Brazil would have the best impact on crime. Meanwhile in other countries (such as Australia), it seems that gun control have a very small effect on homicides: https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-that-australias-gun-laws-reduced-gun-homicides/

In Nazi Germany, gun ownership was extremely restricted before Hitler came into power so the reduction of gun control meant very little considering it was still restrictive years after Hitler was in power. Here's more information on that; in it gun control advocates do not believe gun regulation had any effect on the Nazi party's power: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_gun_control_argument

That site your are quoting on Australia is from a far right organization with pro gun agendas. So it's not a reliable source.
The real numbers show a slight decrease in homicides per year, but on an increasing population. Meaning that homicides per capita, have decreased at a steady rate.
Also consider that guns in Australia were not abolished, just restricted. So there are still a decent amount of guns, for those wanting to do harm.

Brasil has a large amount of guns, even without legalizing more of them. This is the main reason for it's high homicide rate. For a country to reduce it's crime rate, the solution was never to give more guns to the people, but to improve policing and social policies.

On the other hand I can give you an opposite example. Portugal, a smaller country, but with a very similar population and with strong emigration between Brasil. It has a rather restricted gun control policy. But unlike Brasil, it is one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, it ranks number 2, at the moment.
Even Brazilians claim that one of the reasons to emigrate to Portugal is the safety.

The rise of nazi Germany had many facets. But on of it's most pernicious facets was that of allowing more guns into the hands of nazi sympathizers, while removing guns from those that were considered enemies.
Example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disarmament_of_the_German_Jews
 

Laurie McKinlay

Posts: 11   +10
Social media can merely define how customers are allowed to use their platforms, which has nothing to do with freedom of speech.
But what does that have to do with the problem of private companies holding a monopoly over what information gets shared?

Facebook have openly admitted with co-operating with the White House in terms of deciding what information gets allowed and disallowed. No matter what stance you have over the rights of private companies to determine what gets shared on their platform - one government having that kind of power over people all across the world is an issue. And using the issue of it being on a private platform distracts from the actual problem at hand of the monopoly existing.

When old laws don't cover new circumstances, then you update the laws. You don't just say "AW shucks, they're a private company, there's nothing we can do about that one". I don't see how anyone can argue that a new set of laws to to prevent a single corporate entity from having that much power, and limit the huge scope for abusing it, are greatly needed. Though I'm not holding my breath on it.
 

RedBear

Posts: 42   +35
I dislike Bolsonaro and his politics, but this is way better than letting private megacorporations dictate the terms of the public discourse and it should be adopted elsewhere too, only the courts of justice should be able to restrict free speech when it's appropriate.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
When old laws don't cover new circumstances, then you update the laws. You don't just say "AW shucks, they're a private company, there's nothing we can do about that one". I don't see how anyone can argue that a new set of laws to to prevent a single corporate entity from having that much power, and limit the huge scope for abusing it, are greatly needed. Though I'm not holding my breath on it.
Yes, exactly. Update the laws. Enact new laws. Or don't. That is how it should be done.

Presidential decree is the exact opposite of that and so it must be stayed immediately while proper process runs its course. Or does not. As it goes in a nation of laws.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
I dislike Bolsonaro and his politics, but this is way better than letting private megacorporations dictate the terms of the public discourse and it should be adopted elsewhere too, only the courts of justice should be able to restrict free speech when it's appropriate.
No, lawmakers - congress - is the body that decides, by vote, on any restrictions on free speech to be codified in law.

Courts do not make those decisions. Their role is only to rule whether any particular action is in accordance with the law.
 

RedBear

Posts: 42   +35
No, lawmakers - congress - is the body that decides, by vote, on any restrictions on free speech to be codified in law.

Courts do not make those decisions. Their role is only to rule whether any particular action is in accordance with the law.
Not every country is the United States, free speech is regulated more strictly elsewhere, for instance denying the Holocaust is a crime in several European countries. But it's a court of justice that has to establish whether a particular statement is Holocaust denialism, not Facebook.
 

NightAntilli

Posts: 892   +1,171
Right now, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, can delete anything that they don't like, whether justified or not, without consequences.
With this in place, those same social media platforms, will have to actually justify the reason for their deletion, or they have to restore the content. Let me simply quote the whole from Twitter....


1. Brazilian government is taking the global lead in defending free speech on social networks and protecting the right of citizens to freedom of thought and expression.

2. The Provisional Measure issued today by the Brazilian government forbids the removal of content that may result in any kind of "censorship of political, ideological, scientific, artistic or religious order".

3. It is also guaranteed that the social network will have to justify the removal of content under the terms of Brazilian laws. Without a just cause, the social network will have to restore the removed content.

4. This measure forbids selective deplatforming by requiring that social media provide a just cause for the suspension of services and restore access should the suspension be considered unlawful. This measure is based on precedent in Brazilian law and freedom of expression.

5. Attention: the law does not prevent the social network from removing content that violates Brazilian law, such as child pornography. The Brazilian government stands for both freedom and democracy!

6. This measure has been emitted as a result of ongoing concern with actions taken by social media groups that have been perceived as harmful to healthy debate and freedom of expression in Brazil, and hope it will serve to help restore online political dialogue in the country.


I don't see how people can see this as a bad thing. The only thing I can conclude is that they either didn't read the article/statements correctly, or they didn't understand it.

The goal of this law is not to improve political speech, but to make sure that the regime's propaganda is not impeded in any form. Regardless of truth or lies, he wants to make sure that he gets to speak.
Even IF that is the agenda, which I don't think it is, why shouldn't he get to speak? And I don't even like Bolsonaro. Isn't that what freedom of speech is all about...? Not being able to censor the ones that you don't like...?

It's not as if this change is exclusively for the government. This will apply to every Brazilian citizen. They cannot be censored without support of the Brazilian law through a judge.

I can understand the concern, that this might be something that is being framed in a good way, but that it can be used to legalize censorship of certain things through a judge. Although this is a possibility, censorship with lawful justification is better than free censorship without any justification. And make no mistake, what is happening now, on a global scale through social media, is the latter.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
Not every country is the United States, free speech is regulated more strictly elsewhere, for instance denying the Holocaust is a crime in several European countries. But it's a court of justice that has to establish whether a particular statement is Holocaust denialism, not Facebook.
The specifics of the implementation in any particular country does not fundamentally alter the separation of government into legislative, executive and judiciary branches.

Also, Facebook can certainly establish whatever it wants for its own platform, and customers are free to decide whether to sign up for it.

The court of justice can come in when a government (or any other party) potentially steps on Facebook's rights, and make a judgement whether that is so.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 495   +929
I don't see how people can see this as a bad thing. The only thing I can conclude is that they either didn't read the article/statements correctly, or they didn't understand it.
How should we 'read correctly'?

President orders by decree that Facebook has to host things it does not want on its platform. How could this possibly be construed as anything but a terrible thing?