The Lower House of Congress has approved, by 238 votes to 192, fast track status for the Fake News Bill (Bill 2630/20), which creates the Brazilian Internet Freedom, Responsibility and Transparency Law. Voting is expected to take place on Tuesday, April 2, as announced by the speaker of the Lower House, Arthur Lira.
The rapporteur of the bill, Congressman Orlando Silva, said that the fast track status “is a concentrated effort for a new round of conversations”.
Already passed in the Senate, the Fake News Bill creates measures to combat the spread of false content on social media and digital platforms. It is expected to be altered to incorporate new points in the Lower House. Once approved in the house, it will return to the Senate for analysis.
The Articulation Room against Disinformation, an initiative formed by civil society and academic organizations, including Conectas, has expressed support for the proposed legislation. According to the document “The regulation of digital platforms in Brazil: the position of civil society and academic organizations”, already signed by a hundred organizations, “in order to build a democratic, safe and healthy digital environment, it is absolutely indispensable to increase the transparency requirements and hold platforms accountable for boosted content”. Moreover, the Room considers that “it is absolutely essential to create an independent and autonomous regulatory body” that should not have the role of “focusing on individual content, but rather on the operating systems and accountability models of digital platforms”. Despite the importance of this regulatory body, a new version of the text under negotiation in the Lower House excludes this requirement.
Conectas, the Rights on the Net Coalition, Abong (Brazilian Association of NGOs), IDEC (Brazilian Institute for Consumer Defense), the Peregum Black Reference Institute and the Data Privacy Brazil Research Association are some of the signatories of the document.
1- Identification of all promoted and advertising content, with the joint liability of providers for third-party content that has been paid to be promoted.
2- Availability of semiannual content moderation transparency reports, which must be easily accessible and in Portuguese.
3- Determination that accounts of authorities are of public interest and that the account holders cannot restrict their posts from being viewed by users.
4- Requirement for the immediate removal of content that violates the rights of children and adolescents.
5- Education for the safe, conscious and responsible use of the Internet, including campaigns to avoid misinformation.
6- Payment of journalistic content by platforms.