Brazil court lifts suspension of Facebook’s WhatsApp service

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brazil’s ban on WhatsApp is lifted less than 24 hours after it began.

The ban, for 48 hours, was imposed because the company failed to comply with a court order to provide investigators with information relating to a criminal court case. “I use it to talk to friends, for work, with family… It’s hard to not have it because we are used to using it a lot every day, so I’m still kind of lost,” said one man, a real estate agent. The judge lifting the suspension said it was “unreasonable” to penalise millions of consumers because of what he called the company’s “inertia”.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who had described this as a “sad day for Brazil,” celebrated the decision. “Your voices have been heard and the block has been lifted,” he posted on Facebook. But on Thursday, Xaxier de Souza, a judge at a higher court, overruled the decision. “It has not been shown reasonable that millions of users should be affected as a result of the company’s inertia,” he said. The company said it didn’t have the information that was being sought. “We’re disappointed that a judge would punish more than 100 million people across Brazil since we were unable to turn over information we didn’t have,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. WhatsApp creator Jan Koum, who had lamented the ban, celebrated the service’s restoration. “This is a victory for the Brazilian people, and we’re glad that your voices were heard loud and clear by people who represent them,” he wrote on Facebook. The service had 900 million monthly users is also popular across the Middle East, where it has largely eclipsed the once-indispensable BlackBerry Messenger service.

Some Brazilians complained that flirting opportunities had been reduced, or linked the block to a political crisis threatening President Dilma Rousseff, who is facing impeachment proceedings.

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