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Brazil Supreme Court judge lifts ban on messaging app Telegram

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Telegram 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.


Telegram 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.
– Copyright AFP JACK GUEZ

The Supreme Court judge who had ordered messaging app Telegram blocked in Brazil reversed the ruling Sunday, after the tech company complied with an earlier decree to make changes to the platform.

“Considering that the (court’s requested changes) were fully attended to, I revoke the decision to fully and completely suspend the operation of Telegram in Brazil,” Judge Alexandre de Moraes wrote in a document released by the court.

Citing what he called Telegram’s failure to comply with orders from Brazilian authorities and remove messages found to contain disinformation, Moraes had ordered the app blocked immediately in Brazil.

Following the suspension order, Telegram founder Pavel Durov apologized to the Supreme Court and blamed a “communication problem” that he said was due to misplaced emails.

He asked the court to postpone the order to allow time for Telegram to appoint a representative in Brazil and improve communications with the court. The judge on Saturday gave Telegram 24 hours to enact changes so he could lift the ban.

On Sunday, Moraes said the company informed him it had adopted several anti-disinformation measures, including the “manual” monitoring of the 100 most popular channels in Brazil.

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It now also will tag specific posts as misleading, restrict several profiles that disseminated disinformation and promote verified information.

Friday’s order to block the app throughout the country never actually went into effect and Telegram had continued to function normally throughout the weekend.

Mobile operators like TIM, however, were alerting customers via text message that the app would be blocked from Monday.

– ‘Violated local laws’ –

The judge had also asked for the removal of an August Telegram post by Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro in which he questioned, without evidence, the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system, which has been in use since 1996.

By Saturday, the post had disappeared. “This message cannot be shown” because “it violated local laws,” a notification said in its place.

Bolsonaro had called the app’s suspension “inadmissible,” saying it threatened the freedoms of Brazilians.

The judge “failed to act against the two or three people that according to him should be blocked, so he decided to affect 70 million people… What is at stake is our freedom,” said Bolsonaro.

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The kerfuffle came as far-right Bolsonaro, who has been gearing up to seek re-election in October, faces a slump in popularity.

Bolsonaro, who has had various posts blocked on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for violating their rules on misinformation, has been encouraging his base to follow him on Telegram.

With more than a million followers on the platform — not including numerous fan groups with names like “Reelect Bolsonaro 2022” — he is counting on the app to rally his base.

The government had appealed against the suspension order, with Attorney General Bruno Bianco contending that Moraes’s ruling was “disproportionate” and should be reversed.

But Moraes said Telegram 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.

Bolsonaro on Friday had tweeted a link to subscribe to his channel on Telegram.

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

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“Welcome, and share the truth.”

Dubai-based Telegram, founded in 2013, is installed in some 53 percent of Brazilian cell phones and is the fastest-growing platform in the country, according to election officials.

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

Telegram 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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Elon Musk Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Twitter

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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