In this file photo, Brazil's then Judge Alexandre de Moraes stands as he is sworn in as the new head of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the government body that oversees elections, ahead of the Oct 2 elections in Brasilia, Brazil, Aug 16, 2022. Moraes has ordered an investigation, based on a request by Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira, after tech firms campaigned against the bill on their platforms. (PHOTO / AP)
BRASILIA – Brazil's Supreme Court on Friday ordered an investigation into executives at social messaging service Telegram and Alphabet Inc's Google who are in charge of a campaign criticizing a proposed internet regulation bill.
The decision by Justice Alexandre de Moraes to open an investigation, based on a request by Lower House Speaker Arthur Lira, came after tech firms campaigned against the bill on their platforms. They later removed the posts following orders from the Supreme Court.
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Justice Moraes gave the federal police 60 days to carry out their probe and ordered authorities to identify and take testimony from all those responsible at the companies for the "abusive campaign" against the bill.
In his request, Lira said tech companies have used "all sorts of tricks in a sordid campaign of disinformation, manipulation and intimidation, taking advantage of their hegemonic position in the market."
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The bill would put the onus on internet companies, search engines and social messaging services to find and report illegal material, instead of leaving it to the courts, and charge hefty fines for failures to do so.
Google declined to comment on the matter, while Telegram did not respond to a request for comment.