Police arrested the head of Google Brazil over his refusal to remove YouTube videos that allegedly slander a mayoral candidate.
But as the crime that Fabio Jose Silva Coelho is accused of has “low potential to offend” he will not remain in custody, federal police said in a statement.
Rather, he will be released after he agrees in writing to appear in court, the statement said.
An electoral court has said Silva Coelho committed the crime of “disobedience” by not removing two videos that “slander, insult and defame” Campo Grande candidate Alcides Bernal.
The videos accuse the candidate of “instigating abortion, drunkenness, physical injury of a minor, illicit enrichment, and contempt as well as prejudice against the underprivileged,” according to the indictment.
The tribunal, in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, also asked Google to block YouTube in the town of Campo Grande, or the entire state, for 24 hours.
The first round of municipal elections in more than 5,000 Brazilian cities is scheduled for October 7.
Also Wednesday, a Brazilian court said it ordered Facebook to pay a female user $1,500 in moral damages for failing to promptly remove a fake profile containing her name and personal data.
In a statement sent to AFP, the Federal District court in Brasilia said Facebook Brazil had to pay reparation “for moral damage caused by the improper use of (the woman’s) image”.
The fake page on the social networking site, according to the plaintiff, contained her pictures and personal data posted by third parties.
“I reported this but Facebook did not remove the page. I did all that they asked me to, I sent proof of my identity and fiscal number, but they only removed my profile after I took legal action,” Nadya Pereira Justino told the GI news portal.
Facebook Brazil argued it was not the administrator of the social network’s website and that the request for removal of the fake page should have been made through Facebook.com.
But the court ruled that the Brazilian unit was responsible for “damage caused by the firm of the same group based abroad.”
The cases mark the latest chapter in the legal saga embroiling Google and Facebook in the South American nation.
In August, an electoral judge in the southern state of Santa Catarina ordered a 24-hour suspension of Facebook for failing to remove a page which attacked a town councillor running for reelection in next month’s vote.
Facebook eventually reached a deal with the court to escape punishment or a daily $25,000 fine in case of non-compliance.
Tuesday, a Sao Paulo court gave Google 10 days to remove from YouTube any video containing scenes from the “Innocence of Muslims,” an anti-Islam film that has unleashed violent protests.
Roughly 40 percent of Brazil’s estimated 12-million strong Muslim population live in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, home to 20 million people.
The Sao Paulo court said failure to comply would mean “a daily fine of $4,950.
The business daily Valor reported that Google failed to comply with another order from the electoral court of Mato Grosso do Sul to yank a video that offends Gerson Garcia, the mayoral candidate in the town of Nioaque.
And ten days ago, an electoral judge in the northeast state of Paraiba took similar action against Edmundo Balthazar, a Google director in Brazil, for failing to comply with an order to remove from YouTube a video in which a mayoral candidate was described as “a donkey”.
Google appealed the decision and the court decided that Balthazar could not be held responsible for the video content. The jail sentence was suspended. AFP