On Tuesday, Brazil’s Senate passed a bill aimed at fighting fake news, with Senate leader David Alcolumbre boasting that the bill will also guarantee social media transparency, Reuters reported.
The bill, “Brazilian Law on Freedom, Responsibility, and Transparency on the Internet,” was given expedited approval by Brazil’s Congress. It would regulate social media platforms to curtail and prosecute the spreading of threatening or “false” content online.
The Senate approved the bill by a 44 to 32 vote on Tuesday. It will now move to the lower house for a vote.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Alcolumbre said the government must “understand this universe” and affirm that free expression should not be “confused” with threats, violence, or aggression.
Brazil’s Justice Minister Flavio Dino has made regulation of social media a high priority, arguing in March that the government must eradicate online hate speech.
The bill would require social media platforms operating in Brazil to establish legal entities that would be in constant contact with the government. Social media sites that do not remove content deemed by the government as violating the law will face legal punishment, ranging from a warning to blocking the platform in the country.
The legislation would also criminalize disseminating false content through bot accounts and would make social media companies liable for damages caused by third-party content creators. The parliamentary immunity afforded to Brazilian lawmakers on social media platforms will also be extended in the measure.
With the main text now approved by the Senate, the senators will also vote on amendments to the existing bill.
Senator Angelo Coronel, the rapporteur of the bill, said the Senate sought to make the text of the legislation “more concise” to ensure the “right of reply” as well as the “immediate removal of content in serious situations,” including prejudice based on ethnicity, national origin, and race, as well as violations of the “rights of children and adolescents.”