Senate strikes down Bolsonaro’s social media decree

Senate strikes down Bolsonaro's social media decree
Senator Rodrigo Pacheco. Photo: Jefferson Rudy/SF/CC-BY 4.0

As expected, Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco struck down a provisional decree issued by President Jair Bolsonaro last week changing social media regulations. According to the president’s office, the piece of legislation limited online platforms’ “arbitrary removal” of accounts, profiles, and content.

Provisional decrees must legislate on urgent matters only, and Mr. Pacheco deemed this was not the case. He added that the decree unilaterally changed Brazil’s internet legal framework without allowing for a proper discussion beforehand.

Back in March, non-profit news organizations revealed that the government paid digital influencers to tout unproven treatments against the coronavirus. In recent months, social media platforms began increasing their scrutiny of the president’s posts as well as channels owned by his supporters. Fearing bans — or drawing the attention of Senate investigations — many began deleting videos containing misinformation.