A Supreme Court judge in Brazil ruled Friday to block popular messaging application Telegram nationwide, barring one of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s favorite communication channels.
Citing Telegram’s failure to comply with orders from Brazilian authorities and remove messages found to contain disinformation, Judge Alexandre de Moraes ordered the app blocked immediately in Brazil, in a ruling dated Thursday and published Friday on the high court’s website.
“Telegram’s disrespect for Brazilian law and repeated failure to comply with countless court decisions… is completely incompatible with the rule of law,” wrote Moraes.
He said the company had repeatedly refused to comply with rulings and requests from police, the Superior Electoral Tribunal and the Supreme Court itself.
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That includes a Supreme Court-ordered investigation into allegations against the Bolsonaro administration of using official communication channels to spread disinformation, he said.
Bolsonaro reacted on Twitter, posting a link to subscribe to his channel on Telegram — which was still operational in Brazil Friday afternoon.
“Our Telegram informs people every day of many important actions of national interest, which many regrettably omit,” he said.
“Welcome, and share the truth.”
Telegram is hugely successful in Brazil, where it has been downloaded on 53 percent of all cell phones.
Bolsonaro, who has had various posts blocked on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for violating their rules on misinformation, has been eagerly encouraging his base to follow him on Telegram as he gears up to seek reelection in October.