Brazil Diary: Brasilia Tries Again to Regulate Tech, Get Platforms to Pay for News

Anya Schiffrin is the director of the media and technology specialization at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Shutterstock Earlier this month I spent a week in Brazil engaged in discussions about tech regulation. The trip reinforced my feeling that Brazil’s version of January 6th – the Jan. 8 attacks on the Supreme Federal Court, Presidential Palace and the National Congress in the capital Brasilia –has dramatically shifted sentiment in favor of tech regulation.   Indeed, nearly every public event I attended began with comments about January 8th and the need to regulate the large social media platforms to prevent the spread of false information about elections and political polarization. The Federal Supreme Court in Brasilia now hosts a regular seminar on democracy and the internet. The day I spoke there happened to be the day the trial of the Jan 8th rioters began.  The Supreme Court meeting began with remarks by Federal Supreme Court Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, which summed up the general mood:  Disinformation, and hate speech circulated on social media, has become a threat to journalism and human rights, an instrument for political polarization and violence. The time when we thought the internet could be free and not regulated is in the past. Some kind of regulation is necessary, but what kind is being debated in Brazil and around the world.” Just as in the US, debates about disinformation and freedom of speech in Brazil reflect the political polarization of the country. Regulations addressing tech accountability…Brazil Diary: Brasilia Tries Again to Regulate Tech, Get Platforms to Pay for News