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Facebook nearly banned in Brazil

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A judge in Brazil made news for almost blocking access to Facebook in the South American country after the social network refused to take down a page that allegedly mocked a local councilman.

The near-decision came when councilman Dalmo Menezes, a member of the conservative Partido Progressista representing the city of Florianopolis, filed a complaint with the 13th electoral court after he discovered that the administrators of a Facebook page had made accusatory comments about the politician. Since the comments were made anonymously, they violate Brazilian law.

Reage Praia Mole is a page dedicated to the preservation of a Galheta Park, a public beach park in Florianopolis. Menezes is leading a charge to privatize portions of the beach to build and develop property on it. He is also running for reelection this coming October.

“They started anonymously to denigrate my image in the social network, saying that I was against Galheta Park, which is not true,” Menezes told to Brazilian news outlet ND Online.

Judge Luiz Felipe Siegert Schuch agreed with Menezes and ordered that Facebook be made unavailable in the entire country for a period of 24 hours, after the social network allegedly refused to take down the page. Schuch also ruled that Facebook would be fined 50,000 reales (roughly $25,000) for every day that the company ignored his order.

The Great Brazilian Blackout of 2012 never happened, of course. On Sunday, Schuch reversed his own decision.

“I will suspend this fine and the removal of the site for now,” Schuch told UOL. “We will reevaluate the case at a later date.”

It’s unclear if Schuch’s change of heart was due to his realization of the absurdity of the situation or if more powerful forces were at work. But it’s worth pointing out that “Reage Praia Mole,” has 6,744 likes as of this writing—about 6,678 more than before this incident.

Photo via Reage Praia Mole/Facebook