Musk warns that VPN may be required to access X in Brazil

Elon Musk has suggested that X users in Brazil use a VPN to access his social network as a public row with a Brazilian supreme court judge heats up. On Sunday, Musk defied orders to block certain X accounts in Brazil, citing a “free speech crackdown,“ and now faces an investigation.

Elon Musk pinned his post suggesting that users get a VPN.

“To ensure that you can still access the X platform, download a virtual private network (VPN) app,” Musk posted.

This comes after the X Corp. defied an order by Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes to block certain popular accounts.

What happened?

X announced on April 7th that it had been forced by court decisions to block certain popular accounts in Brazil. X challenged the blocking orders, believing they were not in accordance with the Brazilian Federal Constitution, and that the people of Brazil are entitled to freedom of speech.

“We have informed those accounts that we have taken this action,” the X Global Government Affairs team said. “We do not know the reasons these blocking orders have been issued. We do not know which posts are alleged to violate the law.”

The company was prohibited from disclosing which court or judge issued the order, on what grounds, and which accounts were impacted.

However, Musk, on the same day announced they were lifting all restrictions, as “censorship appears to violate the law and will of the people of Brazil.”

“This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees, and cut off access to X in Brazil. As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there,” Musk said.

He also added that X would publish everything demanded by Moraes and “how those requests violate Brazilian law.”

“This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil. He should resign or be impeached,” Musk bashed.

According to Reuters, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Moraes opened an inquiry into Elon Musk for obstruction of justice involving social media company X on Sunday. If X fails to comply with the order to block certain accounts, the company will be fined 100,000 reals ($19,740) per day, the judge said.

Moraes is investigating so-called “digital militias“ that supposedly backed the former far-right president Bolsonaro‘s administration and an alleged coup attempt last year by spreading fake news or hate.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's leftist government expressed support for Moraes, with Solicitor General Jorge Messias criticizing Musk and calling for the regulation of social media networks to prevent foreign platforms from violating Brazilian laws.

"We cannot live in a society in which billionaires domiciled abroad have control of social networks and put themselves in a position to violate the rule of law, failing to comply with court orders and threatening our authorities," Messias said in a post on X.

Last year, Moraes also ordered an investigation into executives at social messaging platform Telegram and Alphabet's Google, who were in charge of a campaign criticizing a proposed internet regulation bill. The bill puts the onus on internet companies, search engines, and social messaging services to find and report illegal material instead of leaving it to the courts. It would also impose hefty fines for failures to do so.

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