Ban has been reportedly lifted following the injunction from the higher court.
Considering the constitutional principles, it does not look reasonable that millions of users be affected as a result of the company’s inertia to provide information.
Judge Xavier de Souza from the 11th criminal court of Sao Paulo said in a ruling,
In what could be a one-of-its-kind situation for Whatsapp, the Facebook-owned IM giant has been banned in Brazil for 48 hours, following an order by a Brazilian judge.
The reason cited by the judge was the failure of Whatsapp to comply with a July court order in a criminal case in which a drug trafficker allegedly used WhatsApp services in the commission of crimes.
SindiTelebrasil, a local Brazilian telephone company said that it has received orders to shut down Whatsapp text messaging and Internet Voice calling in the entire country.
Whatsapp and Facebook did not immediately respond officially to the ban or the reports about the possible reasons of the ban. However, Chief Executive of Whatsapp, Jan Koum posted a statement on Facebook in response to the ban saying ,
We are 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.
Post the ban, the Whatsapp rival Telegram announced that it has gained as many as 1 million users in a day and the number is expected to rise further if the temporary ban on Whatsapp continues.
It is noteworthy that Brazil remains one of the most active nations on Social media and is often called the Social Media capital of the world. Reportedly, Brazilians spend almost double the time on social media as Americans.
The country remains the 2nd or 3rd largest market of almost every internet service, be it Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or WhatsApp.
In fact, Whatsapp is one of the most used Internet services in the country with almost 93 million people using Whatsapp which is 93% of the Internet-using population of Brazil. This is also due to the fact that Brazil has some of the most expensive call rates in the world which is almost 3 times as expensive as US and 5 times that of Spain.
It is due to this reason many telecom companies in the Brazil have been lobbying against Whatsapp in the country alleging that the service is illegal and unregulated. For the past few months, operators have been trying to convince the government to put a ban on Whatsapp as millions of Brazilians have completely abandoned their cell phone lines.
However, it is not just Whatsapp which is under the threat of censorship in Brazil but the entire social media is under threat. Reportedly, there are bills going rounds in the legislations by the Brazil’s conservative Congres which propose to criminalize posting social media content and to allow the government to spy on its citizens.
These bills and the people behind proposing these bills are reportedly against the country’s first internet legislation- groundbreaking Internet “Bill of Rights” famously called the Marco Civil.Marco Civil protects net neutrality, user privacy and freedom of speech in Brazil and was approved last year
Many politicians in Brazil feel that the internet is only used to say bad things about them. They hate the internet. It’s a threat,
says Ronaldo Lemos who is director of the Internet Technology Society in Rio de Janeiro and is also one of the instigators of Marco Civil.