Head Google Executive in Brazil Arrested Over YouTube Political Attack Video

Brazilian judges are doubling down on efforts to make Google accountable for users’ YouTube videos.

The Associated Press reported that police arrested a Google Brazil executive last night for failing to take down YouTube videos slandering mayoral candidate Alcides Bernal in next month’s local elections. A judge in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul issued a warrant for Fabio Jose Silva Coelho for violation of election laws that forbid campaigns from slandering another candidate’s integrity, which the uploaded video in question has allegedly done. AFP reported that the video in question accused Bernal of “instigating abortion, drunkenness, physical injury of a minor, illicit enrichment, and contempt as well as prejudice against the underprivileged.”

Head of Google Brazil Silva Coelho

Silva Coelho has since been released and is awaiting trial. Google has said they are not responsible for the content posted on YouTube and would appeal the decision.

Adding to YouTube’s problem in Brazil, a judge in Sao Paulo, home to a large Middle Eastern community, ordered Google to remove the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” video from its website because of its offensiveness to Muslims. The judge has given the company has 10 days to remove the video or face daily fines of $4,950.

In both cases, Google has stood firm and said that they are not responsible for the content posted on YouTube. Their community guidelines and terms of service back them up. The community guidelines clearly state that they “encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).” The “Innocence of Muslims” film falls into hate speech under YouTube guidelines, but the attacks on Bernal do not. Legal challenges withstanding, YouTube was in its rights to keep the Bernal video, but not the “Innocence of Muslims” film.

What may be freedom of speech in one country could be grounds for an arrest warrant in another country. Brazil’s court rulings have proven that.

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