Elon Musk defies Brazilian Supreme Court order to block social media accounts

The tech billionaire slammed the ruling as “the most draconian demands of any country on Earth”

Elon Musk has demanded the resignation of a Brazilian Supreme Court justice. Judge Alexandre de Moraes had ordered an investigation of Elon Musk on Sunday, after the tech mogul defied an order to suspend social media accounts, claiming that they were spreading disinformation.

Musk was accused of the “criminal instrumentalization of the platform” and was threatened with a fine equivalent to $20,000 for each reactivated account that the judge ordered to be blocked. 

 ”The social network X must refrain from disobeying judicial orders, including by reactivating an account that the Supreme Court ordered blocked,” Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote in the order reviewed by AFP agency. “Social networks are not lands without laws,” the judge added in capital letters. 

It has not been revealed which accounts were affected. 

Following the development, the billionaire, who is known for his free speech advocacy, took to his platform, calling the ruling the “the most draconian demands of any country on Earth” and accusing Moraes of “brazenly and repeatedly” betraying the constitution and people of Brazil.  

“This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to X in Brazil,” he said in a post on his network on Sunday, calling on Moraes to resign. 

“As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. But principles matter more than profit,” he added. 

Moraes has ordered the suspension of multiple accounts belonging to influential people supporting former president Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently being investigated amid allegations that he attempted to launch a coup in 2022. So-called “digital militias” have been accused of spreading defamatory claims and threats against members of Brazil’s Supreme Court.

Those who approve of the crackdown say supporters of the right-wing former president threaten Brazil’s democracy. They cite mass protests against his election loss, which culminated in January 2023 with the storming of the Supreme Court building, the national parliament and the presidential palace. Online agitation allegedly served as a key trigger of the violence.

Following Musk’s retort, Brazil’s Attorney General Jorge Messias called for the urgent regulation of social networks, saying “we cannot live in a society where billionaires who live abroad control social networks and show themselves willing to violate the rule of law, disobeying judicial orders and threatening our authorities.”