Brazil Is Suing Twitter Because People Are Tweeting To Avoid Traffic Checkpoints

Brazilian authorities are pretty peeved at Twitter. Apparently, users are tweeting to warn each other of traffic checkpoints, radar guns and other safety precautions on the roads – and this has made Brazil mad enough to sue the company for facilitating certain law-breaking accounts.

Brazil is suing Twitter for a $300,000 daily fine if it does not comply with the government’s requests to see several traffic-reporting Twitter accounts shut down.

Specifically, the government is targeting accounts like @leisecarj which circumvents Brazil’s strict legislation against driving under the influence of alcohol by tweeting the location of traffic checkpoints and radar guns.

However, the account also tweets useful traffic information to its 287,000 followers, such as incident reports.

In the lawsuit, Brazil argues that the @leisecarj and other crowdsourced accounts must be shut down, as they are breaking several laws and are acting immorally, allowing for drunk drivers to potentially remain on the road undetected by authorities.

Twitter has not yet responded to the lawsuit against it, but it is quite possible that the company will take this opportunity to implement its newly-announced country-by-country policy that enables it to withhold certain content and accounts if a government requests it.

This does sound like the typical situation that Twitter laid out when explaining how its new stance on censorship would work: if a government requests content be redacted, Twitter will do so – but only if it is actually illegal in that country, and the content will only be removed from the view of Twitter users actually in that country. In this case, others around the world would still be able to see the Brazilian accounts warning of traffic controls and DUI checkpoints – but the drunk drivers on Brazil’s roads wouldn’t.

(Top image: michaeljung via Shutterstock)

Publish date: February 7, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT