WhatsApp is now back online in Brazil after being banned for two days-48 hours throughout the country as a court ordered telecommunications companies to block the popular messaging app which is used by more than 90% of people living in Brazil.
The court originally meant to block WhatsApp for failing to provide sensitive information, particularly, messages between drug traffickers. The court’s statement said the organization had failed to respond to a court order from July 23rd, it had been warned on August 7th in a fixed penalty in noncompliance’s case.
The order from a criminal court in Sao Paulo state went into effect at midnight Wednesday.
However, on Thursday afternoon, state judge Xavier de Souza overruled the lower court.
“in light of constitutional principles, it doesn’t seem reasonable that millions of users are affected because of the inaction of the corporation”
Judge Xavier de Souza from the 11th criminal court of Sao Paulo said in the ruling, recommending a higher fine be imposed on WhatsApp.
The decision came much to the annoyance of Brazilians, as it is estimated that the country has 100 million users, and many took to social media to vent their frustration.
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.
The messaging app is used by many of Brazil’s young and poor, who can’t afford standard plans from local carriers.
Mark Zuckerberg, who heads WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook, reacted with a Facebook post.
“This is a sad day for Brazil. Until today, Brazil has been an ally in creating an open internet. Brazilians have always been among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.”
“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.”