Ever miss a really important email? We’ve all been there.
The team over at the messaging platform Telegram probably knows exactly how bad that feels too. Now it’s banned in Brazil, and missed emails are the culprit.
According to Reuters, Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes issued an order Friday for Telegram to be blocked in the country. Much like in the U.S., the messaging platform has become a hub for conspiracy theories and disinformation surrounding Brazil’s elections as the far right supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro have flocked there.
Authorities in Brazil have attempted to crack down on this disinformation and Telegram had complied with some requests, such as when it banned channels belonging to a pro-Bolsonaro blogger based in the U.S. earlier this year. However, according to Moraes, Telegram has overall been uncooperative and was not complying with Brazil’s local orders.
Telegram has a simple explanation for why it hasn’t worked with Brazil to avoid the suspension: The company missed Brazil’s emails. According to Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov, the company “had an issue with emails going between our telegram.org corporate addresses and the Brazilian Supreme Court.”
“As a result of this miscommunication, the Court ruled to ban Telegram for being unresponsive,” Durov continued. “On behalf of our team, I apologize to the Brazilian Supreme Court for our negligence. We definitely could have done a better job.”
Durov further explained that Telegram had referred the court to a dedicated email address it had for takedown requests. However, the Brazilian court continued to correspond via Telegram’s “old general-purpose email address.” Durov says the team missed these emails and are now working to comply with the court’s requests
As a result of Moraes’s ruling, Brazil’s telecommunication agency, Anatel, has been ordered to officially suspend the platform until Telegram cooperates with local authorities, complies with Brazilian law, and pays the related fines. The court order also requests that Apple and Google aid in blocking access to Telegram in Brazil as well.
A Google spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the company had received the Supreme Court order.
As Durov points out, Telegram has been inundated with official takedown requests over the past few weeks as a result of world events like Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, Telegram’s suspension in Brazil provides a valuable lesson: Always check your email.