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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Brazil court orders Twitter to hand over data related to Bolsonaro attack

Attempt to find 16 users who celebrated via tweets the assassination attempt of far-right presidential candidate

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro rally outside the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where he was being held. EPA
Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro rally outside the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where he was being held. EPA

A judge on Brazil's top electoral court on Friday ordered Twitter to hand over data of 16 users who celebrated via tweets the near-fatal assassination attempt two weeks ago of far-right, poll-leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

Judge Carlos Horbach rejected an appeal from Twitter regarding the request and gave two days for the company to hand over the data, which was requested by the Bolsonaro campaign. The users could potentially face charges under Brazil’s hate crime laws.

Twitter did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the judicial order in its second-biggest market in terms of number of users.

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The company has been ordered to hand over user data in various other countries in recent years, and routinely fights such requests in the courts arguing that users own their own data under the social media site's terms of service.

Mr Horbach ruled that Twitter be fined 50,000 reais ($12,345) per day until it complies with the order. It could also be charged with disobedience of an order from the electoral court, a crime that could lead to the arrest of its executives based in Brazil.

Mr Bolsonaro is in stable health condition, recovering from the attack, and is expected to leave the hospital at the end of the month. He easily leads first-round polling for the October 7 ballot, and is tied or just behind all rivals in surveys’ scenarios of a runoff vote. That would take place on October 28 if no candidate wins a majority in the first round.