Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has issued new social media rules that would severely limit the ability of companies such as Facebook and Twitter to remove many types of content, including his own challenges to the legitimacy of the country's upcoming election.
According to the New York Times, Bolsonaro — who is trailing in polls and has said he will only lose the next election if it's rigged — issued rules that require companies to obtain a court order to remove content unless it focuses on a specific set of topics such as nudity, drugs, or encouraging crime.
Major social media platforms in the past few years have put in place rules against questioning the integrity of the civic process or trying to disrupt elections. Bolsonaro's new code takes effect immediately, but it will expire in 120 days if the Brazilian Congress doesn't make it permanent, according to the report. It also faces court challenges.
Bolsonaro, a right-wing politician who has also spread misinformation about coronavirus, has close ties to Donald Trump. The former U.S. president is banned from the biggest social media sites for repeated violations of their terms of service, including his positive comments about supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump's removal has super-charged Republican claims that conservatives are silenced online. It's also spurred efforts by leaders in several Republican-controlled states, such as Florida and Texas, to force companies to keep up content even though the U.S. Constitution forbids government from dictating what people and companies say.
Many nations around the world are looking for ways to clamp down on content, including both harmful disinformation as well as routine political criticism.