X tells Brazil court 'operational faults' allowed blocked users to remain active

FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Musk attends a conference organized by the European Jewish Association, in Krakow
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By Ricardo Brito

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Lawyers representing X in Brazil told the Supreme Court on Friday that "operational faults" have allowed users who were ordered blocked to stay active on the social media platform.

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes last week had asked the social media giant to explain why it allegedly did not fully comply with earlier rulings ordering the company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, to block certain accounts.

In a 20-page legal document, X's lawyers said the owners of the accounts had sought to circumvent court-ordered restrictions to continue using the platform by making new accounts. It added it has not reactivated any of these users.

A report by Brazil's federal police seen by Reuters last week showed accounts on X that top courts had ordered blocked were still active on the platform by early April, being able to gain new followers and to live-stream videos.

X said on Friday that the police report had tracked six accounts, from a total of over 200 accounts Brazilian top courts have ordered it to block since 2022.

The company added these users were owned by people who have a history "of incessantly trying to break imposed security measures", saying they took advantage of "operational faults" and "systemic vulnerabilities" within the platform to keep using it.

One of the strategies used by these users was putting on their profile bio links to external sites where they stream videos, according to X.

X said an operational failure made it possible to see the users' profile bio on X when logging on through the app, though the accounts appeared blocked when accessed through the website.

The company also dubbed these cases "unusual" and said it had fixed the issues as soon as it had detected them.

Moraes, whose decisions regarding X Musk had called "unconstitutional," opened earlier this month an inquiry into the billionaire after Musk said he would reactivate accounts on X that the judge had ordered blocked.

The judge is investigating so-called "digital militias" that have been accused of spreading fake news and hate messages, along with illicit practices on social networks, during the government of former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, and is also leading an investigation into an alleged coup attempt by Bolsonaro.

(Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia; Writing by Andre Romani; Editing by Aurora Ellis)