August 1, 2020 / 2:10 AM / 14 days ago

Brazil judge fines Facebook for not blocking Bolsonaro supporters

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A Brazilian Supreme Court judge slapped Facebook with a 1.92 million reais (281,124.18 pounds) fine on Friday for not complying with an order to block globally certain accounts controlled by supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro implicated in a fake news inquiry.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Justice Alexandre de Moraes had ruled a day earlier that Facebook and Twitter failed to comply with orders to block the accounts because they were only blocked within Brazil, but remained accessible with foreign IP addresses.

On Friday, he ruled that Facebook must pay the fine for not complying and face further daily fines of 100,000 reais per day if it does not block the accounts in question globally.

Before the fine was announced, Facebook said on Friday that it would appeal the decision. The world’s largest social network said it respects the laws of countries where it operates, but that “Brazilian law recognizes the limits of its jurisdiction.”

The company did not immediately comment after the fine was announced.

The judge’s fine only addressed Facebook’s non-compliance. It was not clear whether Twitter would face a similar fine.

Twitter said it would also appeal the decision to block the accounts.

The judge originally decided in May to block 16 Twitter accounts and 12 Facebook accounts of Bolsonaro supporters who have been linked to a probe into the spreading of fake news during Brazil’s 2018 election.

The accounts were blocked due to allegations that they violated laws on hate speech.

Last week, Bolsonaro said his government would also launch a legal challenge against blocking the accounts.

Reporting by Ricardo Brito, writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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