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Elon Musk Calls For Alexandre de Moraes To Resign: Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Orders Investigation Amid X Controversy 

Last Updated April 9, 2024 4:12 PM
James Morales
Last Updated April 9, 2024 4:12 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Elon Musk reinstated some banned accounts after X was forced to block them at the request of Brazilian courts.
  • Musk said the requests were draconian and called for Supreme Court Judge Alexandre de Moraes to resign.
  • In response, de Moraes is investigating Musk for obstruction of justice.

Elon Musk appears to be waging an all-out war against the Supreme Court of Brazil, which has been accused of overseeing an authoritarian crackdown on free expression.

After Judge Alexandre de Moraes issued a court order requiring X to block certain accounts, Musk said the order was unconstitutional and has refused to comply. Although neither party has confirmed a full list of affected X users, De Moraes has launched an investigation into social media misinformation among the Brazilian far right.

Elon Musk vs. Supreme Court of Brazil

While the clash between Musk and de Moraes has only recently come to light, ongoing tensions between X and the Brazilian judiciary have been simmering for some time.

On April 3, the journalist Michael Shellenberger published the “Twitter files” which depict a government conspiracy to pressure social media platforms into disclosing the identities of certain users and censoring posts without a warrant. 

At the center of the controversy, de Moraes stands accused of targeting supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro by attempting to strongarm X into complying with his demands

X Reinstates Blocked Accounts

On April 6, X said  it had been “forced by court decisions to block certain popular accounts in Brazil,” with the threat of daily fines if it failed to comply.

However, Musk later responded by stating  “content restrictions in Brazil have been removed,” followed by a string of posts that called out the judge’s “draconian requests.” 

“This judge has brazenly and repeatedly betrayed the constitution and people of Brazil. He should resign or be impeached,” Musk said.

Court Orders X Investigation 

After X reinstated accounts that the Supreme Court had ordered it to ban, Judge de Moraes moved to investigate Elon Musk for obstruction of justice as part of an inquiry into fake news on social media that he leads.

The inquiry is considering the role of social media disinformation in the events of January 8, 2023, when supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in Brasilia.  

In the past year, de Moraes has been a vocal advocate for eliminating anti-democratic content posted online, such as the unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud that preceded last year’s riots.

Although the court’s latest clash with X is particularly spectacular, it mirrors the platform’s increasingly tense relationship with governments around the world who have moved to clamp down on disinformation.

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