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Brazil Kickstart Hunt for Elon Musk Over Fake News

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By Abi Gibson - - 5 Mins Read
Tesla CEO Elon Musk during the VIVATECH conference
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk | Shutterstock

Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes is investigating U.S. entrepreneur Elon Musk for potentially obstructing justice and spreading false information.

According to de Moraes, Musk launched a public campaign against the court by criticizing the court's orders to block certain accounts on his social media company, X (formerly Twitter), over the weekend.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and owner of Twitter since late 2022, accused Justice de Moraes of suppressing free speech and infringing on Brazil's constitution.

He suggested on X that users could use VPNs, or virtual private networks, to bypass any potential shutdown of the platform.

An investigation is being conducted on Elon Musk for potentially using his platform, X, to help digital militias accused of spreading false information and threatening Brazilian justices.

The investigation aims to determine whether his actions involved criminal association, obstruction, and provocation.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes has accused Musk of defying court orders, inciting criminal behavior, blocking Brazilian justice, and disrespecting Brazil's sovereignty.

As of Monday morning, neither Musk nor X's press office had responded to these allegations, though Musk had posted briefly about the issue on X.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes, criticized by Brazil's right-wing for limiting free speech and targeting political opponents, including allies of former President Jair Bolsonaro, shut down the Telegram app in March 2022 for non-compliance with blocking and information-sharing requests related to Bolsonaro supporter Allan dos Santos. 

Supporters defend de Moraes' strict measures as necessary to combat fake news and safeguard Brazil's democracy, notably after the January 2023 uprising in Brazil's capital.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk has declared on his platform X that he will remove all account restrictions.

The business mogul did acknowledge potential financial losses but emphasized that "principles matter more than profit."

Brazil represents a key market for social media companies. According to market research group Emarketer, about 40 million Brazilians, or 18% of the population, use X at least once a month.

Elon Musk advised Brazilian users to download a VPN to access X if it shut down and promised to expose unjust demands by Justice de Moraes, which he criticized as excessively harsh.

However, as of Monday, Musk hadn't published these demands, and many accounts remained blocked despite his earlier statements. 

Justice de Moraes responded by stating that reactivating blocked accounts would incur a significant fine, emphasizing the legal consequences of disobeying court orders.

Carlos Affonso noted that including Musk in the investigation warns against provoking the court.

Also read: Elon Musk Opens Up on Jewish Heritage


Former President Bolsonaro, who previously honored Elon Musk with a prestigious medal, publicly supported Musk's plan to release documents he claims will expose judicial interference in the 2022 election, though he has not provided proof for these allegations.

Bolsonaro praised Musk's efforts and resilience in a live broadcast, stating, "Our freedom today is largely in his hands," highlighting Musk's commitment to fighting for Brazil's freedom.

In Brazil, a lawmaker from the lower house stressed the need to pass a bill regulating social media platforms quickly, a measure already approved by the Senate in 2020.

Brazil's attorney general also endorsed this regulation, emphasizing its importance.

Jorge Messias, expressing concerns on X, remarked, "We cannot live in a society where billionaires from overseas control our social networks, violate the rule of law, ignore court orders, and threaten our authorities. Social peace is non-negotiable."