Folha de S.Paulo | Musk's accusations against Moraes drive attacks on the Judiciary on the networks
Written May 9, 2024

In April, interactions about higher courts exceeded those observed in the 2022 elections, according to a survey

Ana Luiza Albuquerque

The accusations by Elon Musk, owner of Democracy Institute in Xeque.

Last month there were 70 million interactions on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube regarding judicial courts. The number even exceeded the 60 million observed in October 2022, in the midst of the presidential elections. Since then, interactions and publications on the topic have decreased and there has been a period of stability – interrupted by the clash between Musk and the minister.

The interactions were, for the most part, from far-right accounts, according to the institute's criteria. The group promoted more than 15 million interactions between April 5 and 11, when Musk intensified the clash with Moraes, compared to 2 million fed by accounts considered progressive.

In early April, Musk promised to “overturn restrictions” on the X imposed by Moraes and said the minister should resign or be impeached. Days earlier, American activist and journalist Michael Shellenberger had released what he calls “Twitter Files Brazil” – emails from platform employees that, according to him, reinforce the narrative that Brazilian high courts were promoting censorship.

On April 17, a US Congressional committee published a series of confidential decisions by Moraes on the suspension or removal of profiles on social media. The material was obtained from a parliamentary subpoena made to X.

In the report, Democracia em Xeque researchers state that these events guided the online debate on the topic, drawing progressive and centrist digital ecosystems into the discussion, as well as a large part of opinion makers and the media.

The institute assesses that the extreme right has changed its objective with the narrative spread in the digital system. If in 2022 the group wanted to undermine confidence in the electoral system and encourage the population to reject the results of the polls, the researchers say that now the extremists want to undermine the conduct of due legal process, avoiding accountability for those investigated in the fake news investigation and for the attacks on institutions on January 8th.

“[The survey] was very surprising because in 2022 there was already a very large number [of interactions]”, says Ana Julia Bernardi, project director at the institute. “It also raises the entire debate about the need to regulate platforms. [It draws attention to] how Elon Musk questions the sovereignty of the Judiciary, of the Brazilian election itself, and this generates so much engagement and volume.”

The events involving X and the STF in recent months have encouraged the Bolsonarist right to reinforce the narrative of judicial persecution.

The president's son, federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro coordinates an international offensive to publicize these allegations. He has made frequent visits to Washington (USA), was in Brussels (Belgium) at the beginning of April, on a mission to the European Parliament, and participated at the end of the month in a conservative conference in Hungary run by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a country that became a reference for the global right.

In March, Bolsonaro supporters would participate in a hearing at the Human Rights Commission of the American Congress entitled “Brazil: A crisis of democracy, freedom and the Rule of Law?”. The event, however, was blocked by Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, co-president of the body. A delegation led by Eduardo Bolsonaro then participated in a press interview in front of the Capitol, publicized by Republican deputy Chris Smith.

The parliamentarian, who became one of the main allies of Bolsonaro supporters in the American Congress, later proposed holding the hearing in a subcommittee, which happened this Tuesday (7).

Read the text on the Folha de S.Paulo website.

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