12 May

Lawsuits filed against Telegram and Google drive the opposition in debate about Fake News Bill

Updated 24 de May, 2023 at 4:06 pm

  • Criticism of the lawsuits in the Ministry of Justice and in the Supreme Court against big techs mobilize sectors opposing the Lula administration;
  • Lawsuits were seen as “evidence” of the “repressive” and “authoritative” nature of the Fake News Bill and the government, in a negative association with Alexandre de Moraes, the biggest target of criticism.
  • Progressive politicians and influencers formed a group that criticized the companies and praised the institutional suits against Telegram and Google, but did not reach 30% of the profiles and interactions in the debate;

The measures taken by Brazilian institutions against the statements made by Google and Telegram about the Fake News Bill widely mobilized the conservative opposition and the liberal right. With a strong emphasis on the Telegram case, criticism of the ministers Alexandre de Moraes and Flávio Dino led to negative opinions about Bill No. 2.630/2020, called the Censorship Bill within the group. In isolation, the progressive group denounced the cases and reinforced the need to regulate platforms, positively highlighting the actions of the institutions. Those were the findings of a survey by the School of Communication at FGV, which analyzed the public debate about the cases involving Google and Telegram in the context of Bill No. 2630/2020 on Twitter between May 2 and 11, 2023.



Map of interactions about the two companies and Bill No. 2630 on Twitter
Period: May 2 to 11


Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: School of Communication, Media and Information at FGV


Conservative opposition (Blue) – 40.7% of profiles | 48.8% of interactions
This was the largest group in the debate, formed by opposition politicians, influencers and media outlets. The highlights were names associated with Bolsonaro, such as @gayergus and @barbarapessoal, but@deltanmd and @partidonovo30 were also in the group. The lawsuits filed by Senacon and the Supreme Court against Google and Telegram were seen as “censorship” and “abuse of power”, which allegedly proves the repressive nature of the federal government and of Bill No. 2630. The statements made by the companies were praised, while Alexandre de Moraes and Flávio Dino were strongly criticized for the reasons highlighted above.

Progressive politicians and influencers (Red) – 27.9% of profiles | 26.6% of interactions
Group composed of progressive influencers, activists and politicians. This group was the only one strongly criticizing the actions of the companies in answer to the bill. Terms such as publicity, censorship, disinformation and abuse of economic power were associated with the companies, which have allegedly harmed national sovereignty, indicating the need for regulation and for the bill. Praise was given to the measures of Senacon and Alexandre de Moraes. The highlights were profiles such as @felipeneto and @slpng_giants_pt, followed by @flaviodino and @andrejanonesadv.

Liberal right (Light blue) – 16.7% of profiles | 16.2% of interactions
Liberal right politicians, influencers and activists also formed a group that criticized the government’s actions, which were described as “authoritative” and as “samples” of the “censorship” that Bill No. 2630 will allow. In this context, Moraes’s decision against Telegram is allegedly “legally illegitimate” and Dino’s statements about Google “biased”, considering the absence of similar lawsuits against Globo, which is favorable to the Bill. Names associcated with the MBL, such as @KimKataguri, @DaniloGentili and @Amandavettorazz, shared the top positions in the group with @ggreenwald.

Conservative influencers (Turquoise) – 4.9% of profiles | 3.4% of interactions
Group formed by interactions around the influencers @AnaPaulaVolei and @lnarloch. With particular emphasis on the Telegram case, Moraes’s lawsuit was seen as “censorship” against the legitimate “defense of interests” of a private company affected by the Bill. In addition, the group massively reproduced the message originally propagated by the company, linking the bill to an “attack on democracy”. In more partisan demonstrations associated with @AnaPaulaVolei, there was talk of an “institutionalized gag on the right”.

Pro-Telegram profiles (Purple) – 4.6% of profiles | 2.9% of interactions
Group composed of profiles articulated around a tweet published by the account of Telegram Brasil (@telegram_br) and mostly aligned with the opposition to the government. The content of the tweet directly contradicts Dino’s statements about Telegram not responding to Senacon in the case of the request for data from neo-Nazi groups. Among the users, the message mobilized criticism of the minister, who was seen as authoritarian, and praise for the platform, which is allegedly being attacked for “breaking the monopoly of truth”.


Major terms related to the companies and Bill No. 2630 on Twitter
Period: May 2 to May 12 at 2pm


Source: Twitter | Elaborated by: School of Communication, Media and Information at FGV


  • Although the most recent Telegram case only unfolded on May 9 at 3 pm, it gained particular prominence in the debate on technology companies and the Fake News Bill;
  • In this context, critics of the “Censorship Bill” saw the platform’s message as powerful, sharing it in screenshots and written reproductions. This practice continued after the removal ordered Moraes, promoting passages such as “democracy is under attack in Brazil”. Randolfe Rodrigues, Flávio Dino and Alexandre de Moraes were heavily criticized for their statements and actions in relation to Google and Telegram, with references to various institutional spheres, such as Senacon and Cade, in addition to investigations and legal decisions;
  • Those in favor of the Bill focused on denouncing the platform for “attacking Bill 2630”, which is allegedly a crime. Moraes’s decision was celebrated for correctly holding the company accountable and forcing the quick removal of the message. There were also excerpts from the statement which the judge ordered Telegram to make in its official channel in Brazil after the previous message was removed.