Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Facebook, YouTube Remove Content Backing Brazil Attack

Mon 09 Jan 2023 | 11:33 PM
Israa Farhan

Facebook parent Meta said it is deleting posts from the platform praising or supporting anti-democracy protesters in Brazil, who over the weekend stormed the country's Congress, Supreme Court, and the presidential palace.

The rioters are supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who refused to accept his defeat in the elections. 

On Sunday, they bypassed security barricades, climbed rooftops, smashed windows, and traversed the three buildings, with some calling for military intervention to either restore far-right Bolsonaro to power or oust President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from office.

Facebook's more than 3 billion users often rely on the social network to find information or people who share their views. However, the service has been criticized for spreading misinformation about political and health issues, such as elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has sought to reduce misleading info by removing posts that violate its moderation standards. In 2023, Meta mentioned that it is working on efforts related to the Brazilian elections, such as removing posts that question the legitimacy of votes.

On Monday, Meta said in a statement emailed to CBS MoneyWatch that it is "removing content calling for people to take up arms or forcibly invade Congress, the Presidential palace and other federal buildings" in Brazil. The company explained that it designated the attacks as "a violating event, which means we will remove content that supports or praises these actions. We're actively following the situation and will continue removing content that violates our policies."

Hundreds of those involved in the attacks were arrested after the buildings in the Three Forces Square in Brasilia were recaptured.

In a press conference from the state of São Paulo, Lula accused Bolsonaro of encouraging attacks by those he called "fascist fanatics". Lula also read a newly signed decree authorizing the government to control the security of the Federal District.

Bolsonaro, who traveled to Florida ahead of Lula's inauguration, wrote on Twitter Sunday that peaceful protest is part of democracy, but vandalism and invasions of public buildings are "exceptions to the rule."