Society

Brazil's Senate Commission of Inquiry summons representatives of Google, Twitter and Facebook to testify

The Commission was created in April to investigate the conduct of the federal government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

The vice-president of the Brazilian Senate Commission that investigates the federal government actions concerning COVID-19, senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP). Photo: Jefferson Rudy/Agência Senado
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  • The Commission was created in April to investigate the conduct of the federal government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The group of senators, made up of 11 incumbents and seven alternates, has BRL 90,000 as an expense cap and needs to complete the investigations within 90 days – that is, by August 10th;
  • This period, however, can be extended for another 90 days.

The Congressional Commission of Inquiry about the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil approved the summons of representatives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter this Wednesday. Brazillian senators want tech companies to explain their policies to prevent and fight the spread of fake news about the coronavirus.

The request to call the representatives of these companies was presented by the vice-president of the Commission, senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP).

READ ALSO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is denounced at the UN for humanitarian tragedy due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“Recently, we have seen the movement to stop the exclusion of false or uninformative content by the company’s platforms, so it is essential that a representative of Facebook, which manages a number of content sharing platforms, attend this committee to clarify the reasons for this behavior change,” said Randolfe, while justifying one of the requests.

“In fact, despite the notorious efforts promoted by the company, we know that much still needs to be done to fight this avalanche of misinformation about the pandemic and ensure that the correct information reaches the population,” he stressed.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 investigation committee deepens the crisis between Bolsonaro and Congress and complicates the approval of the Union’s budget

Sought out, the three companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Commission was created in April to investigate the conduct of the federal government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The group of senators, made up of 11 incumbents and seven alternates, has BRL 90,000 as an expense cap and needs to complete the investigations within 90 days – that is, by August 10th. This period, however, can be extended for another 90 days.

The senators’ main thesis so far is that Jair Bolsonaro‘s government formed a parallel cabinet to deal with the pandemic, ignoring the recommendations of technicians and scientists from the Ministry of Health and other health agencies and institutions in the country, in addition to the WHO.

The denial attitude of the federal government, headed by Bolsonaro, would have led the country to act too late on several occasions. One of the big questions is why the country took so long to negotiate the purchase of vaccines; why did it ignore more than 50 offers made by Pfizer?

(Translated by LABS)

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