Jair Bolsonaro and his wife Michelle

Brazil Bolsonaro: Facebook to block accounts of supporters of the president

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Several supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro are accused of spreading fake news on social media

Facebook has followed an order from the Brazilian Supreme Court to block the accounts of a dozen top allies of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.

The group is accused of spreading false news against judges.

However, the social media giant said the measure was a threat to freedom of expression and would appeal the order.

A military coup was called on its platform to close Congress and the Supreme Court.

In May, a judge ordered Facebook to block 12 accounts and Twitter another 16.

On Friday, the Brazilian Supreme Court fined Facebook 1.91 million reais ($ 368,000; £ 280,000) for refusing access to the accounts worldwide – it had only agreed to block access to accounts that could be accessed from Brazil – and did not comply with another 100,000 reais for each day.

It was not clear whether Twitter had also been fined.

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Facebook said in a statement that the order is extreme, "contrary to laws and jurisdictions worldwide."

"Given the impending criminal liability for a local employee, we currently see no alternative but to comply with the decision by locking accounts worldwide while we appeal to the Supreme Court," it said.

The blocked accounts include those of Roberto Jefferson, the chairman of a party loyal to the president, and Luciano Hang, one of Brazil's best-known businesspeople.

Facebook and Twitter are under increasing pressure to fight hate speech and false information.

In July, Facebook blocked dozens of accounts on Facebook and Instagram, which were said to be involved in creating "fictional people pretending to be reporters" and "masking as news agencies".

It was said to have linked the accounts to employees in the offices of Mr. Bolsonaro, his sons Eduardo and Flávio, and others.