A Brazilian court on Wednesday ordered the countrywide suspension of messaging app Telegram after its parent company failed to provide data sought by authorities on neo-Nazis operating on the network, officials said.
In the framework of a probe into neo-Nazi activity on social networks, the court fined Telegram a million reais (about $198,000) per day for “not complying,” and ordered the “temporary suspension of (its) activities,” Justice Minister Flavio Dino said in a video sent to journalists.
“There are groups called ‘Anti-Semitic Front’ and ‘Anti-Semitic Movement’ acting in those networks, and we know that this is at the core of violence against our children,” he added, in reference to a recent spate of attacks in schools.
Earlier this month, a man carrying a hatchet killed four children between the ages of four and seven at their school in the same week as two other, non-fatal school attacks.
Last month, a 13-year-old boy killed a teacher in a knife attack at a school in Sao Paulo.
And last November, a 16-year-old shooter killed four people and injured more than 10 others in twin attacks on two schools in Aracruz in the southeastern state of Espirito Santo.
The G1 news portal, citing police sources, reported the teenager had allegedly interacted with anti-Semitic groups on Telegram.
According to a document from the federal justice authority in Espirito Santo, investigators had asked Telegram for the personal data of members of two stated anti-Semitic groups on the platform.
The company handed over only data on the administrator of one of the groups, said the document, adding there was “intent by Telegram not to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.”