Last Friday, the Brazilian Supreme Court banned the popular messaging app Telegram due to the company’s failure to comply with anti-disinformation legislation. Judge Alexandre de Moraes made the decision after the Dubai-based company repeatedly refused to follow judicial orders to crack down on disinformation campaigns associated with President Jair Bolsonaro.
Telegram has a long-standing “zero compromises” policy on bowing to calls to regulate disinformation. However, hours after the ban’s enforcement, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov apologized for his company’s negligence for failing to fulfill the legal requirements. Telegram reversed course by erasing posts made by Bolsonaro containing classified information, marking other false posts as inaccurate, and removing accounts of prominent Bolsonaro supporters accused of spreading disinformation. Following these developments, the court reviewed its original ruling and lifted the ban Sunday before it went into effect. Telegram now joins other companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that have been actively working to stop the spread of disinformation in compliance with Brazilian legislation. According to recent market studies, Telegram is the fastest growing messaging app in the country.