What could the messenger app have done wrong?
A Brazilian court (correction: a now very unpopular Brazilian court) made the decision on Monday to temporarily shut down WhatsApp within its borders. The ban was instated at 2pm BRT yesterday by Judge Marcel Montalvão and has been set to run for 72 hours.
This is actually the second time that a judge has ordered a nationwide ban of the popular messaging app in Brazil, with a 48-hour ban implemented just last year.
The authorities in Brazil have had a very turbulent relationship with the messaging service – so much so that the VP of Facebook (the owner of WhatsApp) for Latin America was even arrested in March – and all for the very same reason: its refusal to cooperate in a criminal investigation.
Brazil’s current WhatsApp ban is a punishment for this.
Judge Marcel Montalvão issued the WhatsApp ban because the site failed to hand over information requested in a criminal investigation, refusing to share vital data that they had obtained from a drug ring.
Whether the WhatsApp owners should be punished for guarding users’ message streams is a matter up for debate, but WhatsApp have pointed out that this ban isn’t just reprimanding the company leaders – it’s punishing ‘more than 100 million Brazilians who rely on [the] service to communicate, manage their businesses, and much more’.
Despite spreading anger across the country over the ban, not everyone is suffering from a WhatsApp blackout. Telegram, an alternative messaging app, appears to be reaping the benefits of the WhatsApp shutdown with a surge in Brazilians signing on to use it during the ban. They app gained over a million new users during the last ban so we can assume the latest move will give them a similar boost in business.
‘It is a sad day for Brazil’ Mark Zuckerberg said the last time Brazil banned WhatsApp. Most Brazilians hope the ‘punishment’ will be brought to a premature end by popular demand, as it was last time.