Brazil blocked Telegram


April 27, 2023 - April 29, 2023
published by Maria Xynou on October 31, 2023

On 26th April 2023, a federal judge in Brazil reportedly ordered the temporary suspension of Telegram in response to the messaging service’s alleged failure to share all information on neo-Nazi chat groups requested by the police. This information was reportedly requested as part of a school attacks inquiry, as Brazilian authorities investigate neo-Nazi groups that are believed to have used Telegram to incite school attacks. However, Telegram’s CEO claimed (on his Telegram channel) that it’s impossible for them to comply with the order, as the judge requested data that is not feasible for them to obtain.

OONI data shows that some ISPs in Brazil blocked access to Telegram between 27th to 29th April 2023.


Chart: OONI Probe testing of Telegram on 596 ASNs in Brazil between 1st April 2023 to 31st May 2023 (source: OONI MAT).

As is evident, almost all measurements were successful, and we only observe a significant increase in anomalous measurements between 27th to 29th April 2023 (which correlates with the timing of the reported block). However, a per-ASN breakdown of the measurement coverage shows that Telegram was not blocked on all tested networks in Brazil. Our analysis of OONI data shows that some ISPs blocked access to all tested Telegram endpoints, while others only blocked some of them. This suggests lack of coordination between providers, and that each ISP implemented the block autonomously.

This is not the first time that access to a popular messaging service is blocked in Brazil over noncompliance with authorities’ requests to hand over user data. WhatsApp, for example, was temporarily blocked in Brazil (in December 2015 and May 2016) over noncompliance with such requests.

Learn more through our research report.