Collegiate requested documents exchanged between State Department employees and the North American diplomatic corps that are linked to orders from the TSE and STF in Brazil

The Judicial Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives requested on Wednesday (April 17, 2024) that the State Department, linked to the White House, send all documents and communications exchanged between the agency’s employees and diplomatic corps in the North -Americans in Brazil and with the Brazilian government regarding “orders, demands or warrants” from the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) and the STF (Supreme Federal Court) on the blocking or banning of profiles on X (formerly Twitter) and other platforms. Read the full document, in English (PDF – 396 kB).

The requests are part of a series of documents made public on Wednesday (April 17, 2024). In them, the commission accuses minister Alexandre de Moraes, of the STF, of “censor” any Brazilian opposition with “a platform for criticism” to the current “left-wing government”, in reference to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). It also calls for action to continue with the investigation, which gained strength after the disclosure of the blocking of X accounts in Brazil and a public clash between the platform’s owner, businessman Elon Musk, and Moraes (read more below).

Signed by Republican Jim Jordan, a political ally of former President Donald Trump, the request is directed to two State Department officials: the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, and the Special Envoy and Coordinator for Digital Freedom, Eileen C. Donahoe. They were also responsible for consulting “subject matter experts” for decide How the State Department intends to respond to these attacks on free speech. The deadline for submitting documents is April 30, 2024.


In free translation from English to Portuguese:

“Dear Undersecretaries Zeya and Dr. Donahoe:

“The Federal Government’s Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on Armaments are overseeing how and to what extent the Executive Branch coerced or conspired with corporations and other intermediaries to censor legal speech. To further our oversight, the Select Subcommittee examined how governments in other countries, including Brazil, have sought to censor online speech. According to recent reports, the Brazilian government is trying to coerce X Corp. (X) to block certain accounts on its social media platform that the Brazilian government considers to be contributing to disinformation. After X supported free speech online, a Brazilian judge opened an inquiry against X and its owner, Elon Musk, for refusing to give in to Brazil’s censorship demands. OX has indicated that it is being “forced by court rulings to block certain popular accounts in Brazil” or face serious consequences, including heavy fines, the arrest of X employees, and the closure of X in Brazil.

“The Committee and the Selected Subcommittee learned, through documents obtained pursuant to the subpoena, that the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court and the Federal Supreme Court ordered X to suspend or remove more than 100 accounts on the popular social media platform since 2022. These censorship demands were directed at critics of the Brazilian government and include former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, conservative members of the federal legislature, journalists, members of the judiciary and even a gospel singer and a pop radio station. The Brazilian Court justified the censorship on the basis that ‘it is necessary, appropriate[,] and urgently prevent the possible spread of hate speech, the subversion of order[,] and encouraging the breakdown of institutional and democratic normality through the blocking of accounts on social networks’. The court has often given social media companies just two hours to comply with censorship demands. A copy of the Committee and Select Subcommittee staff’s interim report detailing these findings is attached for your convenience.

“The mission of the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights is to ‘promote the security of the American people by helping countries around the world build more democratic, secure, stable, and just societies.’ The Special Envoy and Coordinator for Digital Freedom is responsible for advancing U.S. priorities around online freedoms, digital inclusion, and information integrity. Freedom of expression, including freedom of expression on digital platforms, is a fundamental and necessary part of democratic and fair societies. Therefore, to understand what the State Department is doing to promote free speech online in Brazil and to protect against tyrannical censorship abroad, we ask that you produce the following information:

  1. “All documents and communications between officials of the Department of State, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Brazil, pertaining to or relating to orders, demands or mandates of the Superior Electoral Court in Brazil and the Federal Supreme Court relating to suspension or removal of accounts on X or any other social media platform; It is
  2. “All documents and communications between the Department of State and the government of Brazil referring to or related to orders, demands or mandates from the Superior Electoral Court of Brazil and the Federal Supreme Court relating to the suspension or removal of accounts on X or any other platform social media.

“Additionally, the Committee requests that you organize a briefing with subject matter experts on how the Department of State intends to respond to these attacks on freedom of expression in Brazil. Please provide these documents and arrange this briefing as soon as possible, no later than 5:00 pm on April 30, 2024. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Committee staff at (202) 225-6906.

“Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Jim Jordan

Read more:


Alexandre de Moraes determined on April 7 the inclusion of the owner of X as being investigated in the digital militias inquiry, filed in July 2021 and which investigates groups for conduct against democracy.

The minister also opened a new investigation to investigate Elon Musk’s conduct. The magistrate wants the crime of obstruction of justice to be investigated, “including criminal organization and incitement to crime”.

On April 6, Elon Musk asked why Minister Alexandre de Moraes “No Brazil demands so much censorship”. The businessman responded to a publication by the minister in X on January 11th.

Musk’s comment followed accusations made by American journalist Michael Shellenberger on April 3. According to Shellenberger, the minister has “led a case of widespread repression of freedom of expression in Brazil”.

The critical comments escalated the tone and Musk said that he is thinking about closing Twitter in Brazil and that he will publicize Moraes’ demands that violate laws. He also called the minister “tyrant”, “totalitarian” e “draconiano”saying he should “resign or be impeached”.

Know more:


On April 3, American journalist Michael Shellenberger published an alleged exchange of emails between employees of the legal sector of X in Brazil between 2020 and 2022 talking about requests and court orders received regarding content from its users.

The messages would show requests from various instances of the Brazilian Judiciary requesting personal data from users who used hashtags about the electoral process and content moderation.

Shellenberger specifically criticized STF (Supreme Federal Court) minister Alexandre de Moraes, criticizing him for “leading a case of widespread repression of freedom of expression in Brazil”.

According to him, Moraes issued decisions by the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) that “threaten democracy in Brazil” when asking for interventions in publications by members of the National Congress and personal account data – which would violate the platform’s guidelines. The records of the processes mentioned in the case are confidential.

The case was named Twitter Files Brazil in reference to the Twitter Files originally published in 2022, after Musk purchased X, in October of that year.

At the time, Musk delivered material to journalists that indicated how the social network, in the 2020 North American elections, collaborated with United States authorities to block users and suppress stories involving the son of the country’s presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The files published by journalists include email exchanges that reveal, to some extent, how Twitter reacted to requests from governments to intervene in the policy of publishing and removing content. In some cases, the social network ended up giving in.

In the Brazilian case, Musk was not indicated as the source who provided the material, however, the businessman criticized Moraes for a few days.

Read the main reactions below:


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