A federal judge in Brazil recently ordered a temporary suspension of the messaging app Telegram for failing to cooperate with federal police in investigations into “extremist chat groups”. The blocking of the app is claimed to be part of the country’s fight against rising school violence.
Many users reported being unable to use Telegram after local operators complied with the court order. Google and Apple were also ordered to block the app. The fine for non-compliance was increased to 1 million reais (about $200,000) per day.
Brazil’s federal government is focusing on fighting school violence by holding social media platforms accountable for not removing content that incites violence. Telegram is appealing the Brazilian court decision, and the app is expected to be unavailable in the country until the dispute is over.
The app’s founder Pavel Durov wrote in a post on his personal channel on the platform that Telegram may leave the Brazilian market because of the blocking. Durov argues that the authorities’ demands to disclose user data are “technically impossible” to fulfil and that it is therefore easiest to leave the country.
Telegram has previously left countries such as China, Iran and Russia due to similar data disclosure requirements.