Brazilian judge’s censorship orders aimed at Elon Musk a ‘wake-up call’ for similar free speech fight in U.S., Hawley argues

As Elon Musk fights a lonely battle against government censorship in Brazil, there’s little the U.S. Congress can do – except take note of the parallel dangers to free speech here.

That’s the considered opinion of Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, in an exclusive interview with The Heartlander Thursday.

As The Heartlander has reported, the owner of X, formerly Twitter, is openly defying a Brazilian Supreme Court justice’s orders to hand over customer account information and censor online posts and accounts disfavored by the judge.

While independent journalist Michael Shellenberger has reported other social media companies have “behaved like cowards” and complied with such orders, Musk has remained defiant – even in the face of mounting threats from the judge.

“This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to 𝕏 in Brazil,” Musk posted on X. “As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. 

“But principles matter more than profit.”

Hawley notes Musk’s predicament parallels the one social media users are facing in the U.S.

Indeed, Missouri is a co-plaintiff in the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit, now awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which seeks to end Biden administration collusion with Big Tech social media companies to censor conservatives’ speech.

When he purchased it, Musk put an end to Twitter’s censorship collusion with the Biden administration. But absent such principled ownership of other social media companies, it will take the courts to put a stake through the heart of U.S. government censorship.

“Well, I don’t know if there’s anything we can do about Brazil, but it ought to be a wakeup call to the United States,” Hawley says, “because what has happened in Brazil – with the government attempting to use the Big Tech companies to censor speech and to get information on citizens – is exactly what the Biden administration has tried to do in the United States. They’ve tried to turn those Big Tech companies into an arm of the surveillance state.

“They’ve tried to censor people – not just tried, they’ve succeeded. They’ve censored conservatives online. They’ve censored people who aren’t even conservatives — they just care about what’s being taught in their kids’ schools. They’ve used it to gather information. 

“Brazil is doing what Joe Biden wanted to do. They’re just doing more of it.  

“So, I hope that this will be a big-time wakeup call. We have got to protect the privacy, the speech, the basic rights and integrity of Americans.”


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