The PSB and senator Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) filed the Supreme Court this Monday (6) against the provisional measure issued by the federal government that, in practice, limits the blocking of content published on social networks (video below).
Bolsonaro signs MP that makes it difficult to remove content from social networks
In two different actions, the party and the congressman asked the court to suspend the effects of the measure, published in an extra edition of the “Diário Oficial da União”.
For specialists, the provisional measure is unconstitutional for not complying with urgent requirements and for violating the Marco Civil da Internet. Facebook, Google and Twitter have released statements in which they criticize the measure.
Lawyer Rafael Carneiro, who represents the PSB and elaborated the party’s action, recalled the importance of freedom of expression.
“Freedom of expression is an invaluable right, but not an absolute one. It cannot be misused as a justification for spreading fake news, hate speech and incitement to crime. The moderation of content on the internet is an activity of general interest to the community. By carrying it out, the providers fulfill their social function of promoting a safe virtual environment for the free exchange of information”, he said.
Senator Alessandro Vieira argued in his action that the MP does not meet the constitutional requirements of relevance and urgency, and pointed to the risk of the measure, in practice, allowing the propagation of undemocratic content.
“The internet and social networks cannot be tolerated to serve as a free field for members of any of the powers, especially the Judiciary, to feel threatened for the free exercise of their functions,” he said.
The MP changes the Marco Civil da Internet, legislation that regulates the use of the computer network in Brazil. When published, a provisional measure is effective for 120 days. After this period, to become law, it needs the approval of the National Congress.
The text of the MP establishes “rights and guarantees” for users of social networks and defines rules for the moderation of content on social networks. According to the rule, “just cause” and “motivation” are required in cases of “cancellation or suspension of features of accounts or profiles maintained by users of social networks”.
Also according to the MP, the user has the right to “adversary, full defense and appeal” in cases of content moderation, and the social media provider will have to offer an electronic channel dedicated to the application of these rights.
The text also provides for the right to “return the content” published by the user — texts and images, when required — and the restoration of the account, profile or original content in case of “undue moderation”.
“The right to return the content made available by the user on the social network and the requirement of just cause and motivation in cases of cancellation or suspension of features of accounts or profiles maintained by users of social networks, as well as in cases of exclusion of content,” informed the General Secretariat of the Presidency.
The MP edited by Bolsonaro on Monday also prohibits social media providers “from adopting criteria for moderation or limiting the scope of dissemination of content that imply political, ideological, scientific, artistic or religious censorship”.
“In observance of freedom of expression, communication and expression of thought, the exclusion, cancellation or suspension, in whole or in part, of the services and features of the account or of the user profile of social networks may only be carried out with just cause and motivation”, states the text.
Among the possibilities of just cause for the deletion, cancellation or suspension of the account or profile are:
- Accounts created with the purpose of assuming or simulating the identity of third parties in order to deceive the public, “with the exception of the right to use a social name and a pseudonym and the explicit humorous or parodic mood”;
- Accounts “mainly managed by any computer program or technology to simulate or replace human activities in the distribution of content to providers;
- Accounts that offer products or services that violate patent, trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights.
In the event of exclusion, suspension or blocking of content disclosure, the MP considers the disclosure of:
- Nudity or explicit or implicit representations of sexual acts;
- Practice, support, promotion or incitement of crimes against life, pedophilia, terrorism, trafficking or any other criminal offenses subject to unconditional public prosecution;
- Supporting, recruiting, promoting or assisting criminal or terrorist organizations or their actions
- Practice, support, promotion or incitement to acts of threat or violence, including for reasons of discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, sex, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
Just cause is also considered in the case of “application of the victim, his legal representative or his heirs, in the event of violation of intimacy, privacy, image, honor, protection of their personal data or intellectual property” .
The measure gives providers a period of 30 days, counted from the date of publication of the MP, to adapt to the new rules.