Brazil reverses its Telegram ban after just two days

A judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court has reversed a ban on Telegram, two days after blocking the messaging app for ignoring orders. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said the company missed the court’s emails.

“We complied with an earlier court decision in late February and responded with a suggestion to send future takedown requests to a dedicated email address,” Durov wrote on Telegram on Friday. “Unfortunately, our response must have been lost, because the Court used the old general-purpose email address in further attempts to reach us. As a result, we missed its decision in early March that contained a follow-up takedown request. Luckily, we have now found and processed it, delivering another report to the Court today.”

Durov added that Telegram will appoint a representative in Brazil and set up a framework so it can address requests more promptly. According to The New York Times, Telegram complied with the court’s demands by taking down classified information posted on President Jair Bolsonaro’s channel and deleting the accounts of a Bolsonaro supporter who was allegedly spreading misinformation. The court then reversed the ban.

Telegram reacted so swiftly that the ban (which was imposed by a judge who is running multiple investigations into Bolsonaro and his allies for spreading misinformation) was never actually in effect. The court order gave Apple, Google, ISPs and phone providers five days to block the app.

Durov and his team made some other changes to the app in Brazil in the hope of avoiding another ban. Officials are said to be concerned about misinformation in the lead up to the general election in October. As such, Telegram will start promoting verified information and labeling posts containing falsehoods.

It will also monitor the 100 most popular channels in the country. Telegram says those account for 95 percent of views of public posts. The company has typically taken a hands-off approach to content moderation. The far-right Bolsonaro has used it as a means of communication with his 1.2 million followers after the likes of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube took a firmer stance against misinformation.

Brazil has become a key market for Telegram. According to data from Sensor Tower, Brazilians have installed Telegram more than 84 million times. Between January 1st and March 17th (the day before the court issued the ban), Brazilian iOS and Android users downloaded the app an estimated 4.9 million times.

Read the original article @ Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics