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Brazil Supreme Court judge bars messaging app Telegram

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Telegram’s Russia-born founder Pavel Durov said he was following Apple and Google, which “dictate the rules of the game to developers like us” – Copyright AFP/File Jason Redmond

Jordi MIRO

A Supreme Court judge in Brazil ruled Friday to block popular messaging application Telegram nationwide, barring one of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s favorite communication channels.

Citing Telegram’s failure to comply with orders from Brazilian authorities and remove messages found to contain disinformation, Judge Alexandre de Moraes ordered the app blocked immediately in Brazil, in a ruling dated Thursday and published Friday on the high court’s website.

“Telegram’s disrespect for Brazilian law and repeated failure to comply with countless court decisions… is completely incompatible with the rule of law,” wrote Moraes.

He said the company had repeatedly refused to comply with rulings and requests from police, the Superior Electoral Tribunal and the Supreme Court itself.

That includes a Supreme Court-ordered investigation into allegations against the Bolsonaro administration of using official communication channels to spread disinformation, he said.

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Bolsonaro reacted on Twitter, posting a link to subscribe to his channel on Telegram — which was still operational in Brazil Friday afternoon.

“Our Telegram informs people every day of many important actions of national interest, which many regrettably omit,” he said.

“Welcome, and share the truth.”

Founded by Russian-born tech entrepreneur Pavel Durov in 2013, Dubai-based Telegram is hugely successful in Brazil, where it has been downloaded on 53 percent of all cell phones.

Bolsonaro, who has had various posts blocked on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for violating their rules on misinformation, has been eagerly encouraging his base to follow him on Telegram as he gears up to seek reelection in October.

– Election row –

Moraes also cited Telegram’s repeated lack of compliance with efforts by the Superior Electoral Tribunal to get it to cooperate in fighting disinformation in the run-up to the elections.

Telegram was notably absent last month when the tribunal signed an agreement with eight leading social networks to combat disinformation during the elections, including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube.

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The court’s president, Luis Roberto Barroso, wrote to Telegram headquarters in December, asking for a meeting and warning that the app was rife with “conspiracy theories and false information about (Brazil’s) electoral system.”

Moraes said in his ruling that Telegram “ignored the Brazilian electoral authorities once again, underlining its total contempt for the Brazilian justice system.”

Bolsonaro has more than one million followers on Telegram, not including numerous fan groups with names like “Reelect Bolsonaro 2022.”

He faces a series of investigations for spreading false information on social networks, notably over his repeated claims of rampant fraud in Brazil’s electronic voting system, for which he has provided no evidence.

Telegram has made its refusal to cooperate with the authorities part of its brand.

It deliberately spreads its encryption keys and chat data on disparate servers around the world so governments cannot “intrude on people’s privacy and freedom of expression,” it says on its website.



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Twitter Tests New Tweet View Count Display to Better Highlight Content Reach

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Not entirely sure about this.

Today, Twitter has launched a public test of a new ‘Views’ count on some users’ tweets, which displays the total number of times that each of your tweets was seen in the app.

As you can see in this example, posted by @chimponsey, in the expanded tweet activity display, some users are now also seeing a ‘Views’ listing, alongside ‘Retweets’ and ‘Likes’.

The count is also indicated by an eye icon in the main tweet stream.

Tweet view count

So, cool, right? Now, instead of thinking that people are seeing your tweets and not engaging with them, you’ll know for sure, which should do wonders for your self-esteem.

Technically, the feature doesn’t add anything new, in that you can already view your tweet impression count in the full tweet analytics display (accessible via the graph icon on your tweets).

Twitter impression data

‘Views’ and ‘Impressions’, of course, are not the exact same thing, but as confirmed by Twitter, this is the data that people seeing.

So why put it in the general info display, and confront people with that figure?

At a guess, I would assume that this is part of Twitter’s ongoing effort to demonstrate that it’s more popular and influential than its general usage numbers may suggest.

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Twitter, for example, currently has 238 million monetizable daily active users, which puts it well behind Facebook (1.9b), Snapchat (347m) – basically, every other big social app has more users than Twitter, which has struggled to grow its audience over time.

But according to Twitter, this doesn’t tell the whole story, as many people are consuming tweet content regularly, despite not logging into the app. At one stage, Twitter pegged its ‘logged out’ monthly user count at 500 million, more than double its actual usage figure.

Twitter logged out users chart

That’s a significant story for Twitter to tell, because it points to the broader influence of the app, which could make it a more valuable consideration for brands, thought leaders, creators, etc.

Maybe, by making tweet view counts more present, that will help to reiterate this – because maybe, even though your tweet only got 10 likes, 10,000 people actually saw it.

I mean, that still doesn’t seem like hugely helpful data to have from a self- confidence perspective. But maybe, by knowing that you are actually reaching a lot more people than the Like and retweet figures suggest, that will help you revise and refine your tweet approach to improve engagement and response.

Some users have also reported seeing profile view counts in the app as well, which falls into the same category, with profile view data also already available in your tweet analytics.

Maybe, by making these insights more front of mind, that could have a positive effect – or the negatives of such are minimal enough to justify a full test either way.

I guess, what Twitter really needs to know now is whether having this data more immediately available then reduces people’s propensity to tweet. If you’re seeing that a lot more people are viewing your tweets than you’d thought, because your other engagement stats are low, that could make you feel like you’re not great at tweeting, and see you share less as a result.

If that happens, Twitter will no doubt switch it back – but it could also, as noted, give users more context as to the true reach potential of the app.

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Twitter has confirmed that the new view count display is currently being tested with a small group of users.



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