Technology

YouTube suspends payments to Brazilian accounts over election disinformation

14 channels were accused of spreading fake news about next year's election by the country's federal electoral court

YouTube app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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  • Most of the channels offer regular full-throated support to President Jair Bolsonaro;
  • In July, YouTube said it had removed videos from Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak.

YouTube said on Thursday it had suspended payments to content producers from 14 channels accused of spreading fake news about next year’s election by the country’s federal electoral court, the TSE.

Most of the channels offer regular full-throated support to President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who has been sowing doubts about the credibility of next year’s vote. The president is down in the polls after overseeing the world’s second deadliest coronavirus outbreak and a weak economy.

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“We reinforce our commitment to collaborating with the work of authorities in Brazil and to continue to invest in policies, resources and products to protect the YouTube community from harmful content,” Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said in a statement announcing the move.

Last week, the inspector general of electoral justice, Luis Felipe Salomão, ordered YouTube, Twitch.TV, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to suspend payments to people and pages that were spreading disinformation about the Brazilian electoral system.

In July, YouTube said it had removed videos from Bolsonaro’s channel for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, becoming the latest tech giant to pull his pandemic pronouncements.

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Last year, both Twitter and Facebook took down videos of Bolsonaro for breaching their terms of use after he made pronouncements that went against the recommendations of global public health experts.

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