Elon Musk faces investigation in Brazil over alleged fake news and obstruction

Category: AI Americas Regulatory

Elon Musk is now under investigation in Brazil. The Supreme Court of Brazil has ordered an inquiry into allegations of Musk’s involvement in the spread of fake news and potential obstruction of justice.

Justice Alexandre de Moraes, a prominent figure in the Brazilian Supreme Court, has identified Musk as a subject in an ongoing investigation concerning the dissemination of false information. Additionally, a separate investigation has been initiated to probe the U.S. business magnate for alleged obstruction.

The decision came after Musk allegedly launched a public disinformation campaign about the court’s actions. This campaign was most evident when Musk announced that his social media company, X, would no longer adhere to the court’s orders to block certain accounts.

AI Pioneer under scrutiny in Brazil

Musk, who assumed control of Twitter in late 2022, criticized de Moraes for suppressing free speech and infringing upon Brazil’s constitution. He suggested on X that users could circumvent any potential shutdown of the social media platform by utilizing VPNs, or virtual private networks.

The investigation will focus on whether Musk intentionally used X for criminal purposes. This is part of a broader investigation into a group known as digital militias, who are suspected of spreading defamatory fake news and threats against Supreme Court justices. The new investigation will also examine whether Musk was involved in obstruction, criminal organization, and incitement.

De Moraes has been proactive in pursuing those suspected of undermining Brazil’s democracy. This includes investigating former President Jair Bolsonaro, arresting protesters on minimal evidence, and excluding individuals from social media after they were accused of propagating conspiracy theories.

Musk’s alleged blatant obstruction of Brazilian justice, incitement of crime, public threat of disobedience of court orders, and future non-cooperation from the platform are actions that disrespect the sovereignty of Brazil, according to de Moraes.

As of Monday morning, Musk had not publicly commented on the matter, apart from brief posts on X. The press office of X did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Critics, particularly from Brazil’s political right, have long accused de Moraes of exceeding his authority to suppress free speech and engage in political persecution. In the digital militias investigation, lawmakers from former President Jair Bolsonaro’s circle have been imprisoned and their homes raided.