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Telegram was put into the hot water after accusations of failing to prevent users from spreading misinformation in Brazil. Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes then ordered the ban of the app last Mar 18, which was immediately dropped after two days.
The decision of the Supreme Court to lift the ban happened after the cloud-based instant messaging service finally took some actions to resolve the issue, which is primarily about Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. According to reports, Telegram removed the classified information shared by Bolsonaro and the accounts owned by Allan dos Santos, a US-based Brazilian blogger and a solid supporter of the president accused of using the platform to breed misinformation.
To prevent the problem from resurfacing, Telegram said that it will mandate its employee to be more vigilant about the content of the country’s 100 most popular channels. Moreover, it said that it will promote posts containing factual information and will now label anything fabricated.
The issue took a little time to be resolved, given that the Brazilian authorities already made the suspension threat earlier this year. But in defense of the platform, CEO Pavel Durov said that the company didn’t execute actions faster than expected since it was checking the wrong email address.
“We complied with an earlier court decision in late February and responded with a suggestion to send future takedown requests to a dedicated email address,” Durov stated on his Telegram channel. “Unfortunately, our response must have been lost, because the Court used the old general-purpose email address in further attempts to reach us. As a result, we missed its decision in early March that contained a follow-up takedown request. Luckily, we have now found and processed it, delivering another report to the Court today.”
With 1.1 million subscribers in Brazil, Telegram is one of the best communication platforms in the country, next to Facebook and Twitter. However, it also became an alternative for Bolsonaro for stating false information and comments, such as the erroneous link between AIDS to the COVID-19 vaccine.