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Brazil lifts Telegram ban after two days

Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, election officials and federal police have been trying for months to get a response from Telegram, the fast-growing messaging app. It turned out that all they had to do was ban it. On Friday, Brazil’s Supreme Court blocked Telegram in the country because the company behind the app ignored court orders.

Then, suddenly, the CEO of Telegram replied – with a banal excuse: his company had missed the court emails. “I apologize to the Supreme Court of Brazil for our negligence,” said the executive, Pavel Durov.

Telegram worked quickly over the weekend to comply with court orders, including removing classified information shared by President Jair Bolsonaro’s account and deleting the accounts of a prominent Bolsonaro supporter who was accused of broadcasting wrong information.

This action satisfied the court. On Sunday evening, the court lifted the ban on Telegram.

But Telegram also went further in an effort to avoid a ban. The app made several other changes in Brazil to combat misinformation about its app, which worried Brazilian officials ahead of the October presidential election. Telegram said that among the changes it would start promoting verified information in Brazil and mark fake messages as inaccurate, while asking employees to monitor the 100 most popular channels in Brazil, which account for 95% of message views. public in the country.

“The app has always been willing to collaborate with the authorities. What happened was a misunderstanding regarding the communication,” said Alan Thomaz, the lawyer for Telegram in Brazil, who was appointed on Sunday as part of the Telegram’s response to the court.

The court’s reversal was so quick that the ban never took effect. While the court order was in effect for two days, the ban gave internet service providers, wireless companies, Apple and Google five days to comply.

The ban was instituted and lifted by Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court justice who has become a prominent opponent of Bolsonaro. He oversees several investigations into the president and his allies. Bolsonaro criticized the ban, calling it “unacceptable”, and his administration quickly challenged it in court.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.