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Article Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Signs Agreement with Digital Media Platforms to Combat Misinformation

On June 6, 2024, representatives of digital media platforms (YouTube, Google, Meta, TikTok, Microsoft and Kwai) signed an agreement with the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF) to join the court’s program to combat misinformation regarding the court, its members, and the judiciary.

The program to combat such misinformation was created by a resolution of the STF on August 27, 2021. (Resolução STF No. 742, de 27 de Agosto de 2021). According to the STF’s website, the program

was created to combat practices that affect people’s trust in the Supreme Court, distort or alter the meaning of decisions and put fundamental rights and democratic stability at risk. To achieve this objective, we develop projects, actions, and products with various partners to disseminate correct information and explain the functioning and powers of the court more clearly, with a focus on bringing the STF closer to society.

The program’s strategic plan states that the program encompasses medium and long-term actions, with partnerships signed with various entities and bodies, to support the dissemination of official and truthful information about the Court.

The program’s origins stem from 2019, when the STF started an inquiry (STF, Inquérito 4781) to investigate the existence of fake news and threats against members of the STF and their family members.

While in most circumstances such investigation would be the responsibility of the judiciary police or the public prosecutor’s office, the authority for the STF to start this investigation was derived from article 43 of the Internal Rules of the Court, which states that if a violation of criminal law occurs at the headquarters or premises of the STF, the president of the court will initiate an investigation if it involves an authority or person subject to his jurisdiction or will delegate this role to another minister. (Regimento Interno do STF, art. 43.)

The inquiry has been criticized for what some view as its exceptional nature and for measures that they argue do not give the affected party adequate opportunity to be heard.

The 2021 resolution that established the program provides that it will be implemented along two fronts. The first involves defining the responsibilities of the judiciary staff responsible for program activities and periodic meetings to monitor results, improving technological resources for identifying disinformation practices and hate speech, and conducting institutional dialogues with public and private entities involved in combating disinformation and hate speech. (Art. 2, para. I.) The second involves undertaking communications with civil servants, journalists, and others to enhance media literacy; challenging fake news about the STF; and disseminating truthful information to strengthen the image of the court. (Art. 2, para. II.)

The STF’s press release regarding the agreement with digital media companies states that it aims to promote educational efforts to raise awareness to combat the negative effects caused by misinformation that violates constitutional principles, rights, and guarantees. During a ceremony announcing the agreement, Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, president of the STF, said, “I hope that this agreement is the beginning of a cooperative relationship between the courts and digital platforms in confronting one of the worst epidemics of our time, which is the epidemic of misinformation and the spread of hate.” Currently, the STF’s program has more than 100 partner institutions.

Eduardo Soares, Law Library of Congress
June 20, 2024

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Chicago citation style:

Soares, Eduardo. Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Signs Agreement with Digital Media Platforms to Combat Misinformation. 2024. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-19/brazil-federal-supreme-court-signs-agreement-with-digital-media-platforms-to-combat-misinformation/.

APA citation style:

Soares, E. (2024) Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Signs Agreement with Digital Media Platforms to Combat Misinformation. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-19/brazil-federal-supreme-court-signs-agreement-with-digital-media-platforms-to-combat-misinformation/.

MLA citation style:

Soares, Eduardo. Brazil: Federal Supreme Court Signs Agreement with Digital Media Platforms to Combat Misinformation. 2024. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2024-06-19/brazil-federal-supreme-court-signs-agreement-with-digital-media-platforms-to-combat-misinformation/>.