On October 20, 2022, the Superior Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, TSE) unanimously passed a resolution on fighting misinformation that compromises the integrity of the electoral process in Brazil. The resolution furthers previous efforts by the TSE and the Federal Police to combat fake news during the 2022 general elections, the second round of which will be held on October 30, 2022.
Article 2 of the resolution states that, under the terms of the Electoral Code, the disclosure or sharing of facts known to be untrue or seriously out of context that affect the integrity of the electoral process, including the processes of voting and counting votes (apuração e totalização), is prohibited. (Resolucão TSE de 20 de Outubro de 2022.)
Once an instance of online misinformation has been verified, the TSE will order the relevant media platforms to immediately remove the URL, URI, or URN. Platforms that fail to comply with the order may be fined 100,000–150,000 Brazilian reals (about US$19,000–$28,542) per hour of noncompliance, from the end of the second hour after receipt of the notification. (Resolution TSE art 2(§ 1).)
The Presidency of the TSE may determine the extent to which a collegial decision issued by the plenary of the TSE on disinformation is applicable to other situations with identical contents, including to cases of successive replications by the content or app provider, with offenders subject to the fine provided for in article 2 of the resolution. (Resolution TSE art 3.)
The systematic production of disinformation, characterized by the constant publication of false or decontextualized information about the electoral process, warrants the temporary suspension of social media profiles, accounts, or channels in accordance with the requirements, deadlines, and consequences provided for in article 2. (Resolution TSE art 4.)
In the event of repeated noncompliance with the TSE’s resolution, the president of the TSE may suspend access to the services of the media platform involved for up to 24 hours, with the number of suspended hours proportional to the seriousness of the infraction. For each subsequent act of noncompliance, the suspension period will be doubled. (Resolution TSE, art 5; art. 5 (sole para.).)Article 6 of the resolution prohibits, from 48 hours before to 24 hours after the election, the paid placement, including by direct or indirect monetization, of electoral propaganda on the internet, on an electoral site, on a blog, on an interactive or social site, or in other electronic means of communication connected with a candidate, or on the website of the political party, federation, or coalition connected with a candidate.
Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress
October 26, 2022
Read more Global Legal Monitor articles.