Facebook parent Meta says it will remove material in favour of weekend riots in Brazil that saw protesters invade Congress and Supreme Court
Facebook parent Meta said on Monday it would remove content in support of or praising riots in Brazil over the weekend in which protesters invaded major government buildings.
Meta said it had designated Brazil as a temporary high-risk location in advance of last year’s presidential elections.
“We… have been removing content calling for people to take up arms or forcibly invade Congress, the Presidential palace and other federal buildings,” Meta said in a statement.
The company said it had also designated the riots as a “violating event”, meaning it “will remove content that supports or praises these actions”.
“We are actively following the situation and will continue removing content that violates our policies,” the company stated.
The riots, which resembled the 6 January, 2021 invasion of the US Capitol building, saw tens of thousands of supporters of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro smash windows to the presidential palace and invade the Congress and Supreme Court buildings.
Current president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office on 1 January following a runoff election in October.
Images and videos of the riots have circulated extensively on social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and TikTok, with much of the material being supportive of the protesters.
Reuters reported that the Sunday protests had been planned for at least two weeks by Bolsonaro’s supporters using groups on social media platforms and messaging systems including Telegram and Twitter.
The news service said it had seen messages on the platforms being used to coordinate meeting points around the country, from which chartered buses would leave for the capital Brasilia with the intent of occupying public buildings.
The use of social media platforms to spread disinformation and to organise violence has been an increasing concern for lawmakers, with new rules being brought in in the UK and the EU to tighten controls.
Facebook banned former US president Donald Trump indefinitely following the 2021 riots but is due to announce a decision later this month on whether to allow him to return, after Twitter reinstated Trump’s account.