Zuckerberg: ‘Sad Day For Brazil’ After WhatsApp Blockade

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brazil Pulls the Plug on WhatsApp for 48 Hours.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — WhatsApp is blocked throughout Brazil following a judicial order requiring cell phone operators here to disable the messaging app for 48 hours. Starting Thursday at midnight, according to several reports, Brazil will place a 48-hour block on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service that has more than 90 million users in the country, where the total population is slightly above 200 million.

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — A Brazilian court has ordered cellular service providers nationwide to block the popular WhatsApp smartphone application for two days until midnight Saturday, in a move roundly denounced by parent company Facebook.The TechCrunch website says it is used by 93% of the country’s internet population and is especially popular among young people and the poor who take advantage of its free text message and internet telephone service. The unprecedented 48-hour blockage served to implement a Sao Paulo state court order that had requested WhatsApp cooperate in a criminal investigation. WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum said he was “disappointed in the short-sighted decision to cut off access to WhatsApp, a communication tool that so many Brazilians have come to depend on, and sad to see Brazil isolate itself from the rest of the world”. “I am stunned that our efforts to protect people’s data would result in such an extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.”

Brazilian media has reported that Judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques applied the ban in relation to the app’s withholding of messages relating to a suspect in a drug-trafficking investigation. The service is so widely used in Brazil that people often ask for “your WhatsApp” rather than your number. “This is a sad day for Brazil,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The Brazilian WhatsApp ban came after telecoms companies in Brazil hit out at the app, arguing that by offering free messaging and chat it was stopping people from taking up phone contracts.

Brazilian telecommunications companies have long complained that the free app, which allows users to talk using the Internet, undermines their business. He suggested that people use Facebook’s Messenger app instead — despite having the same owner, that app still works and offers almost identical features.

The app has grown popular in party because it offers a way to talk without being snooped on, and it now claims to have grown to over 60 million active users in 18 months. WhatsApp first exploded in Brazil’s numerous favelas and low-income communities, where it is called “sap sap,” as 3G services become more available because it is free.

Jokes on the “Fall of WhatsApp” flared across the Internet as Brazilian soccer fans suggested the service change its logo to that of teams that had been relegated from their division. Others complained that flirting opportunities had been reduced, or linked the block to a political crisis threatening President Dilma Rousseff, who is facing impeachment proceedings.

Others joked that it was an opportunity to get some relief from the huge WhatsApp messaging groups of friends, family or work colleagues that cause Brazilians’ cellphones to ping with new texts every few seconds.

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