Brazil's Supreme Court justice includes Elon Musk in inquiry on digital militias

After threats, Justice Alexandre de Moraes also ordered the billionaire to respect legal decisions

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Rio de Janeiro |
Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered the opening of an investigation into the conduct of X’s owner - Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil

After threats from Elon Musk, the Justice of Brazil’s Supreme Federal (STF, in Portuguese) Alexandre de Moraes ordered on Sunday night (7) that the X’owner be included among those investigated in the ongoing inquiry into anti-democratic digital militias. “Social media platforms aren’t lawless land! Social media platforms aren’t no man's land,” the justice wrote in capital letters in his decision.

Moraes also decided to open an investigation into the conduct of the billionaire for obstruction of justice and incitement to crime. The justice also ordered X to comply with all the orders of the Brazilian courts and set a fine of BRL100,000 (US$19,860) for each profile it reactivates irregularly. 

On Sunday (7), the tech billionaire called for the resignation or impeachment of Moraes in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

"Coming shortly, X will publish everything demanded by @Alexandre and how those requests violate Brazilian law. This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil," he posted, ending with "Shame, Alexandre, shame.”

Since last Saturday (6), Musk has been attacking Moraes on X, accusing the STF justice of censorship on social media. It all started with a comment on a post on Moraes' official account on the platform. Musk questioned why there was "so much censorship in Brazil?" The comment was supported by politicians aligned with Bolsonaro.

The businessman threatened to remove restrictions on profiles of Jair Bolsonaro’s allies blocked by the Supreme Court, close his company's operations in Brazil and publish all legal requests the court sent to the social media platform. 

Edited by: Vivian Virissimo