December 2, 2022


Sapiens Digital

Brazil lifts its Telegram ban only two days after it was enforced


Telegram forgot to check its emails, but it’s all well

We all struggle to keep track of our emails, resulting in hundreds and even thousands going unread. But it’s not just individuals who suffer from email mishaps — companies do too. A recent email communication issue between Telegram and Brazil’s Supreme Court cut off the service there for two days, but the social media app has since been restored after the company finally found its lost emails and made concessions.

According to the New York Times, Telegram finally complied with the court orders over the weekend. The company is said to have deleted some messages containing classified information shared by the Brazilian president Bolsonaro’s account. It has also revoked access to the platform for a supporter who was accused of spreading misinformation. These actions appear to have appeased the court, as it lifted its ban on Sunday.


Telegram additionally told the New York Times that “it would start promoting verified information in Brazil and marking false posts as inaccurate, while also having employees monitor the 100 most popular channels in Brazil, which account for 95 percent of the views of public posts in the country,” reiterating that the company only didn’t comply earlier because of the email mishap.

Following the initial ban, founder and CEO Pavel Durov took to Telegram to release a statement on the situation, per The Verge. According to him, Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled to suspend the app due to a lack of response from his team concerning an account takedown request. The report made it clear that the court’s demands were not being intentionally disregarded. Instead, the CEO said the company decided to use a dedicated email address for such requests — but the court didn’t get the memo and continued with a general-purpose email. Telegram missed the messages, and as a result, was to be banned. The statement confirmed that the company found those emails, though (probably by going through the general-purpose address’s inbox), and was trying to remedy the situation.

The New York Times reported that Telegram was accused of and placed under investigation in Brazil for being a way to share fake news by politicians. Considering how misinformation could influence this year’s presidential elections, Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes requested the company remove certain accounts and groups from the platform. However, Telegram never responded due to the email confusion described above, inadvertently breaking a Brazilian law mandating that online service companies must comply with court orders when asked.

Judge de Moraes ordered internet and cell-service providers to block Telegram’s services in the country, giving them five days to comply. Apple and Google were also ordered to remove the app from their mobile stores. Companies that don’t comply would be fined $20,000 daily. Luckily, the ban could be averted quickly before going into full effect.

UPDATE: 2022/03/21 06:24 EST BY MANUEL VONAU

Ban reverted

The story has been updated to reflect that the ban was reverted after Telegram finally found its emails and complied with the court orders.

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