Telegram banned in Brazil by the Supreme Court: here’s why

In this moment of strong international tensions that are inevitably also involving social platforms, which have to deal with their political role, the airplane of Telegram is dodging the broadsides coming from Russia (which in the meantime has censored Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blacked out Instagram), and thanks to its Channels it is distinguishing itself as an increasingly important tool for continuing to communicate and exchange information.

But on the other side of the world things go the opposite: In fact, Telegram has been banned from Brazil. And the story has some rather absurd aspects, as explained by the CEO of the messaging app Pavel Durov.


Durov explained on his own Telegram channel that the drastic decision taken by the Brazilian Supreme Court has to do with a problem related to emails. In particular, Telegram would not respond to some Supreme Court emails which required the removal of content deemed dangerous. In the absence of a prolonged reply from the platform, the ban was triggered.

But that of Telegram, explains Durov, it was not an intentional choice. In fact, the Brazilian authorities would have continued to communicate with the company by referring to a “old generic email address“instead of”dedicated e-mail address“indicated by Telegram in previous communications. And therefore the Supreme Court emails were not displayed, and therefore received no response.

Now Durov asks Brazil, in the light of these facts, to postpone the sentence by a few days so that Telegram has time to resolve the matter, also appointing a representative for Brazil and setting up a system to quickly respond to future requests. of this type.

Below, we report Durov’s full message:

We seem to have had a problem with emails between our business addresses and the Brazilian Supreme Court. Following this miscommunication, the court decided to ban Telegram for not responding.

On behalf of our team, I apologize to the Brazilian Supreme Court for our negligence. We certainly could have done a better job.

We complied with a previous court decision in late February and responded with a suggestion to send future takedown requests to a dedicated email address. Unfortunately, our reply must have been lost, as the Court used the old generic email address for further attempts to reach us. As a result, we lost his decision in early March which contained a later takedown request. Fortunately, we have now found and worked it out, delivering another report to the Court today.

As tens of millions of Brazilians rely on Telegram to communicate with family, friends and colleagues, I ask the Court to consider postponing its judgment for a few days at its discretion to allow us to remedy the situation by appointing a representative in Brazil and establishing a framework to react to pressing future problems like this one quickly.

The last 3 weeks have been unprecedented for the world and for Telegram. Our content moderation team has been flooded with inquiries from multiple quarters. However, I am confident that once a reliable communication channel is established, we will be able to efficiently process takedown requests for illegal public channels in Brazil.

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