Brazil Bans Telegram Over Disinformation Concerns


’s approach is notable for how it tries to force the companies that provide the internet’s backbone to block ’s web traffic. The policy even covers people trying to use software to circumvent the ban by routing their web traffic through other countries. Mr de Moraes said anyone who does this will face a $20,000 fine.

The policy is “trying to attack from several fronts, so maybe it’s possible,” said Lucas Lago, a Brazilian software researcher.

While misinformation on the platform is a major concern, many major news organizations, including The New York Times, use Telegram to deliver content.

Mr Bolsonaro’s supporters immediately criticized the ban. Carla Zambelli, a Brazilian congresswoman and longtime supporter of the president, said on Twitter that Telegram was “the only available tool we have free speech” and called Mr de Moraes a “bully”.

Senator Humberto Costa, a left-wing critic of Mr. Bolsonaro, said: “The Fake News Exchange has crashed. The Bolsonaros have lost some of their legacy of lies.”

Representatives of Mr Bolsonaro and Mr de Moraes did not respond to requests for comment. Apple and Google declined to comment.

University of Maryland professor Ms. Oates said Telegram is known for ignoring government orders and requests for data. Still, he added that the order could be perceived as a partisan move, as Telegram is overwhelmingly popular on the right wing in Brazil.

“On the one hand, it’s understandable that you want to organize your media space, and platforms like this only exacerbate existing problems,” he said. “On the other hand, it can be perceived as unfair because it targets a specific group of people.”

André Spigariol He contributed reports from Leonardo Coelho from Brasília, Brazil and Rio de Janeiro.



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