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Facepalm: On Friday, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the suspension of Telegram because it wasn't responding to communications from Brazilian courts and law enforcement. Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov quickly apologized, saying that his company had missed the court's messages because they'd been checking the wrong email address.
Telegram, which is popular with far-right groups in multiple countries, is the favored platform of President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters. Alternatives, like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, have cooperated closely with Brazilian courts that have tried to limit the spread of misinformation by de-platforming radical right-wing political commentators, but Telegram hasn't.
Bolsonaro has more than one million followers on the messaging platform, and his allies are saying that its ban is politically motivated. Local media report that Bolsonaro's supporters are sharing guides to accessing Telegram with VPNs.
Justice de Moraes gave Apple and Google five days to remove the app from their stores. Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel has similarly given the country's ISPs five days block access to Telegram's services. Meanwhile, Telegram has been beseeching the courts to stay the suspension to allow it to appoint a legal representative in the country.
In his order, de Moraes remarked that it was unusual and unhelpful that Telegram hadn't appointed anyone yet. According to Durov, the courts were trying to contact Telegram via their public email, which they self-admittedly failed to monitor. If it paid its fines, appeared before the Supreme Court, and started cooperating with law enforcement, de Moraes said its suspension would be lifted.
As of publication, Telegram is still accessible. Its suspension could be delayed or lifted before it's implemented.
Image Credit: Adem AY