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Court decision Felipe Neto vs. Antonia Fontenelle | internet is no man's land

A lawyer specializing in digital law comments on the court decision that convicted Antonia Fontenelle for the crime of libel against Felipe Neto.


There is still the understanding of many people that on the internet everything is allowed and that the network is a “no man's land”, where insults, threats and insults can be uttered without the authors being held responsible, and this is not true. On the World Wide Web, it is possible to identify the access record of the creators of any profiles (fakes or not), obtaining the address called IP and making them answer for their publications.

“People identify themselves or hide in anonymity to publish offenses. Anonymous hate distillers, for example, use sophisticated mechanisms and use of false profiles, hiding their real identities, in addition to other “makeup” that makes it difficult to identify the IP used. There are, however, identified users, who are known, who have visibility or not, and who also post offensive views against other people on their social media through their profiles, channels, blogs, etc. In these cases, we need to understand that the discussion moves to another field", he begins Francisco Gomes Júnior, attorney digital law specialist.

“To what extent can an offensive opinion be published? Can we virtually attack people and harm them in their constitutionally guaranteed rights, claiming freedom of expression? Freedom of expression is not unlimited, does not allow for personal offenses or the dissemination of false news. Freedom of expression presupposes responsibility for one's actions; you can express whatever opinion you want, but within the limits that the law imposes, otherwise, you are committing a crime”, continues the lawyer.

A concrete example of this limit is the recent court decision of the 9th Special Criminal Court of Barra da Tijuca condemning the presenter Antonia Fontenelle for offense against the digital influencer and Youtuber Felipe Neto. Antonia in one of her publications called Felipe “internet cancer" and "scoundrel”.

“The judge understood that the offenses are not within the limits of freedom of expression, that there was an excess on Antonia's part and that for this excess she must pay a fine of around R$ 63,000 reais. The amount will be allocated to the penitentiary fund.” analyzes the expert.

And the battle between Felipe and Antonia has not ended, there are still other processes in progress. in one of them, in the 39th Criminal Court of Rio de Janeiro, Antonia is responsible for the crimes of libel, libel and defamation for having posted a video of Felipe with the caption “Can we call this video incitement to pedophilia with the naked eyes?”. Also, a lawsuit was filed in the 3rd Civil Court of the Regional Court of Barra da Tijuca, where Felipe asks Antonia to pay an indemnity of R$ 200 thousand reais for the material and moral damages caused.

“All posts on social media must be done with great responsibility. Creeping offenses, cursing the person and the attainment of honor have been increasingly punished by court decisions. And offenders are subject to criminal convictions and the payment of substantial damages for any unlawful act, even if thoughtless or committed in the heat of emotion. Do not confuse freedom of expression with freedom to offend”, warns the lawyer.

Other lawsuits by Felipe Neto against Antonia Fontenelle are still ongoing and Antonia can appeal the conviction for injury.

Francisco Gomes Júnior – Advogado Especialista em Cibercrimes e Direito Digital. Presidente da Associação de Defesa de Dados Pessoais e do Consumidor (ADDP). Coautor da obra “Contratos Empresariais em nossos Tribunais”. Instagram: fgjr



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