Brazil’s WhatsApp Ban Reveals A Big, Scary Problem For Everyone

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brazil court lifts suspension of Facebook’s WhatsApp service.

RIO DE JANEIRO — The day after a Brazilian judge ordered the suspension of the Whatsapp cellphone chat and voice service for 48 hours, cutting off millions of users from one of the country’s most popular communication services, another judge overturned the ban.

The interruption of WhatsApp’s text message and Internet telephone service caused outrage in Latin America’s largest country, where the company estimates it has 100 million personal users, and led to angry exchanges on the floor of Congress. WhatsApp is installed on 92.5 percent of Android devices in Brazil, making it the most installed app in the country, according to SimilarWeb, an internet intelligence and marketing company.

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. The service is widely used by people, companies and federal and local governments to send messages and share pictures and videos. “This is a sad day for Brazil. The ban was first imposed by Judge Sandra Marques in Sao Bernardo do Campo in Sao Paulo because the company had not complied with an order to provide information for a criminal investigation, which is secret. The trafficker allegedly used WhatsApp services while committing crimes, and the court wants access to his communications with others. “We’re disappointed that a judge would punish more than 100 million people across Brazil because we were unable to turn over information we didn’t have,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The suspension appeared to affect WhatsApp users outside Brazil’s borders, as hundreds in Chile and Argentina took to social media on Thursday to complain that the messaging system was also interrupted in the two countries. 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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