Google and Telegram may be investigated for campaign against PL of Fake News

The mayor, Arthur Lira, sent a request to the PGR to investigate Google and Telegram directors about acting contrary to the Fake News PL

The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) asked the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to open an investigation against directors of Google and Telegram in Brazil for attacks on the Fake News PL. Bill 2.630/2020 provides for a series of obligations and establishes punishments for social networks that do not act in the fight against misinformation and anti-democratic content.

Photo: Alveni Lisboa/Canaltech / Canaltech

The original request came from the mayor, Arthur Lira, who sent a document to the PGR with a request for an investigation. Lira said that the two companies act in a “forceful and abusive” way in lobbying against the approval of PL 2630/2020.

Arthur Lira asked the PGR to investigate Telegram and Google for attacks on the Fake News PL and on Congress (Image: Luiz Macedo / Chamber of Deputies)

Arthur Lira asked the PGR to investigate Telegram and Google for attacks on the Fake News PL and on Congress (Image: Luiz Macedo / Chamber of Deputies)

Photo: Canaltech

“Companies have resorted to all sorts of artifices in a sordid campaign of disinformation, manipulation and intimidation, taking advantage of their hegemonic position in the market”, says the parliamentarian in the document obtained by the Reuters agency.

The mayor alleged that the mass message was misinformed and that it would have overloaded the House’s IT services. This occurred because the Telegram statement suggested users to pressure parliamentarians to vote against the Fake News PL.

The attitude, according to Lira, constitutes a crime against democratic institutions, the consumerist order and the economy and consumer relations. The parliamentarian said that his colleagues received death threats and had their social networks taken over by negative comments.

PGR mediated investigation

The Attorney’s Office considered the arguments of the Chamber’s representative valid and sent the request to the STF, responsible for investigations on the subject. The idea is to identify the participation of executives from both companies in the creation of positioning strategies.

The agency also requested the testimony of the directors of the companies. All posts, publications and messages must also be attached to the documents, through an expert report.

The cases will be analyzed under secrecy by the STF under the tutelage of Moraes. The magistrate is responsible for investigations related to fake news and democratic acts.

There is no deadline to convene the directors of Google and Telegram. It is also not known what the consequences of possible actions against the two companies will be.

What happened to Google and Telegram?

The request comes two days after Telegram sent a mass message to Brazilians talking about “dangers of the project” and about an alleged attempt at “censorship”. The app deleted the message afterwards, after being heavily criticized by Brazilian authorities and forced to recant by order of STF Minister Alexandre de Moraes.

The minister established a fine penalty and suspension of services in case of Telegram inertia. Moraes recalled that the conversations app is a repeat offender of non-compliance with judicial measures, such as when it refused to hand over data from neo-Nazi groups possibly involved in attacks on schools.

Last week, the Federal Public Ministry of São Paulo notified Google and Meta for the companies’ actions against Bill 2620/2022. The MPF questioned the two companies if there was any kind of change in search results or promotion of advertisements that criticize the proposal.

Source: Reuters

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