Brazil Could Suspend Social Media Sites Over School Violence Content

Brazil's Justice Minister Flavio Dino holds a news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, January 9, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
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April 12 (Reuters) – Brazil could fine or suspend social media companies that do not effectively regulate content related to school violence, Justice Minister Flavio Dino said on Wednesday.

The new measures, set to be published through an ordinance on Wednesday, seek to curb threats of school violence in the country, which have soared after two separate attacks left five dead in recent weeks.

“If there is no compliance, the process to apply sanctions will go ahead,” Dino told a press conference, adding that the new measures, which could range from fines to suspensions, are in line with national law.

A 2014 Brazilian law rules that internet companies are not responsible for content that users post unless they fail to comply with a court order to remove the content. The Supreme Court is currently discussing this law’s scope and validity.

In March, Meta Platforms (META.O) and Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) appeared before Brazil’s Supreme Court to defend the law, while the government looks to expand regulation over social networks.

Dino said Brazil’s consumer secretariat will immediately start determining each company’s responsibility in proactively regulating harmful content to students.

In view of the “crisis situation,” Dino said the secretariat will ask the platforms to report on adopted measures and protocols.

Last week, a man armed with a small axe killed four children in a daycare center in southern Brazil. The week before, a teenager stabbed his teacher to death in Sao Paulo.

Google, Meta, and Bytedance’s TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter sends a poop emoji as a standard response to the press.

Kwai, a social network for short videos, said that it does not allow content of violence or apology for violence, adding that it is willing to collaborate and already notifies authorities when it detects signs of attack or imminent threats.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Patrícia Villas Boas; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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