Brazil Senate leader kills Bolsonaro decree criticized by tech firms

Updated: September 15th, 2021 03:05 PM IST

Brazil Senate leader kills Bolsonaro decree criticized by tech firms

Brazil Senate leader kills Bolsonaro decree criticized by tech firms

President of Brazils Senate Rodrigo Pacheco listens to Brazils President Jair Bolsonaro during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia, Brazil September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Brazilian Senate leader Rodrigo Pacheco said on Tuesday he would not consider President Jair Bolsonaros decree limiting social networks power to remove content, killing a measure that had met with widespread opposition from tech giants.

Pacheco said Bolsonaros temporary measure, which required congressional approval to become law, did not comply with regulatory requirements and introduced "considerable legal uncertainty."

Brazils federal judiciary, which is probing fake news in the country, has been trying to weed out online outfits that critics accuse of spreading misinformation, forcing major tech players such as Googles (GOOGL.O) YouTube to act.

Bolsonaro signed the decree changing internet regulations to combat "arbitrary removal" of accounts, profiles and content ahead of a major political rally last week.

The decree aimed to protect "freedom of speech," the presidents office said at the time. But it generated significant pushback in Brazil, with Google, Facebook (FB.O) and Twitter (TWTR.N) all coming out against the measure.

The decision is another setback for Bolsonaro, who is down in the polls after overseeing the worlds second deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. He is grappling with rising inflation and a weak economy ahead of a 2022 presidential election whose integrity he has questioned.

Last month, YouTube suspended payments to content producers from 14 channels that the countrys federal electoral court had accused of spreading fake news about next years election.

Just a few days earlier, the inspector general of electoral justice ordered YouTube, Twitch.TV, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to suspend payments to people and pages that were spreading disinformation about the Brazilian electoral system.

Bolsonaros own content has also been targeted. In July, YouTube said it had removed videos from Bolsonaros channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak. Twitter and Facebook took down videos of Bolsonaro last year for breaching their terms of use after he made unfounded claims about the pandemic.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Tuesday replaced the chief public prosecutor who had been seeking charges against him as a suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, plunging the country into a fresh political crisis.

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