WhatsApp is banned in Brazil for 2 days — and a competitor has gained 1.5 million users
WhatsApp, the popular messaging application owned by Facebook, has been banned in Brazil for two days after failing to comply with a court order, BuzzFeed News reports.
“The company did not attend the court order [and so] the prosecution requested the blocking of services for a period of 48 hours, based on the law,” said the 1st Criminal Court of São Bernardo do Campo in São Paulo in a statement.
The case, according to CNBC, is related to the use of voice-over-internet (VOIP) calls through WhatsApp. Brazil’s phone companies argue that this classifies WhatsApp as telecommunications company and, as such, it should be governed by Brazilian law.
All of Brazil’s major mobile networks are being told to block access to WhatsApp for two days starting at 2 a.m. GMT on Thursday (9 p.m. ET).
Telegram, a rival messaging service that is known for its security features, has seen excessively high demand in Brazil after the ruling passed. In a tweet, the company said its service had picked up over 1.5 million users and had “all hands on deck to accommodate the crazy load.”
Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, said he was “disappointed in the short-sighted decision” in a Facebook status (which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg liked)
Mark Zuckerberg has made a Facebook post saying that he is “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.”
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook Messenger is still available and the company is “working hard to get this block reversed.”