A new Provisional Measure amending the Marco Civil da Internet was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro this Monday (6), and this was not well regarded by social media giants. Facebook and Twitter have positioned themselves against the change in legislation, while YouTube is still analyzing the possible impacts for the video platform.
MP tries to fight “arbitrary removal” of content
The text determines that published content can only be removed or limited when there is just cause and motivation, in compliance with freedom of expression, communication and expression of thought.
The Provisional Measure determines the just causes:
- when the content is in disagreement with the Child and Adolescent Statute;
- when there is a request from the victim, their heirs or legal representatives;
- compliance with a court order;
- nudity or representation of sexual acts;
- crime against life, pedophilia, terrorism, trafficking or criminal offences;
- support for criminal or terrorist organizations;
- apology for illicit drugs;
- teaching how to steal credentials or break into systems;
- acts against public security, national defense or state security;
- infringement of patents and other intellectual property rights;
- infringement of Conar rules, which regulates advertising in Brazil;
- spread of viruses or malware;
- sale of products inappropriate for consumption in accordance with the Consumer Defense Code.
In addition, the rule determines that the total or partial exclusion or cancellation of profiles can only be done with just cause and motivation, including court order, non-payment of the user, simulation of third-party identities (except in humorous or parodic cases), accounts managed by computer programs (bots) or accounts that offer products that violate patents, trademarks and copyrights.
The MP establishes that social networks have up to 30 days to adapt to the new rules. In case of violation of the law, they can be punished with a warning, a fine of up to 10% of sales in Brazil, a daily fine, temporary suspension or prohibition of data collection and processing activities and communications.
As this is a Provisional Measure, the validity is not definitive: o text still needs to be approved by the National Congress to become a law. The initial validity is 60 days, but it can be extended for an equal period while it is not appreciated by the legislature.
Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ), leader of the opposition in the Chamber and rapporteur of the original project of the Marco Civil da Internet, said he will ask Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), current president of the Federal Senate, to return the Provisional Measure.
Facebook and Twitter take a stand against the provisional measure
In note to the Techblog, Facebook expressed its opposition to the change in the Marco Civil:
This interim measure significantly limits the ability to contain abuses on our platforms, which is critical to providing people with a safe space for online expression and connection. Facebook agrees with the statement of several experts and jurists, who claim that the proposal violates constitutional rights and guarantees
To G1, Twitter said the provisional measure was a setback and defended the original Marco Civil:
The Marco Civil da Internet was the result of a broad and democratic process of discussion with civil society, in which companies, academia, users and public bodies were able to participate. This allowed the drafting of a law considered to be at the forefront in protecting users’ rights, preserving innovation and free competition. The proposition of this Provisional Measure, which brings changes to the Marco Civil, contradicts everything that this process was and what was built with it.
On the other hand, YouTube didn’t explicitly take a stand against the change. To Techblog, Google’s video service stated that it analyzes the possible impacts of the MP and claims that it has community policies through a “collaborative process with technical experts, civil society and academia”, and that its guidelines exist to “preserve the diversity of voices and ideas characteristic of the platform”.
Bolsonaro has already had post removed on social networks
It is worth remembering that Bolsonaro has been demonstrating since August against the “censorship” of right-wing profiles on social networks. A change in the Marco Civil da Internet was foreseen by the president, who compared himself to Donald Trump on account of the removal of content with false news.
Bolsonaro já teve uma série de conteúdos apagados das redes sociais: em março de 2020, Facebook, Twitter e Instagram apagaram um vídeo do presidente que destacava benefícios da hidroxicloroquina como tratamento para COVID-19, mas o medicamento que não tem eficácia comprovada contra o coronavírus .
Em janeiro de 2021, Bolsonaro teve um post ocultado no Twitter por ter informações falsas sobre os medicamentos hidroxicoloroquina e azitromicina. The social network posted a warning about the violation of rules because it was potentially harmful content, but did not remove the tweet because it understood that access could be a demand in the public interest.
In April 2021, Instagram and Facebook posted a false information notice on Jair Bolsonaro’s posts. At the time, the president accused an article in the Portuguese version of the newspaper El País of being harmful to his image, while the original report in Spanish used a positive word. In fact, the politician did not understand the original meaning of the Hispanic term “cheer up“, a false cognate for “not convincing”.
Also in April, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s channel that promoted “early treatment” for drugs with no proven efficacy against COVID-19. The platform considered that the contents did not comply with policies against misinformation about the pandemic, by encouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine, invermectin, azithromycin, vitamin D and Annita. At the time, the president was at the side of Eduardo Pazuello, the acting minister of Health at that time.
Collaborated: Giovanni Santa Rosa