WhatsApp Blocked in Brazil: Mark Zuckerberg Calls It a 'Sad Day'

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WhatsApp Blocked in Brazil: Mark Zuckerberg Calls It a 'Sad Day'

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the company that owns WhatsApp, has called the ban of the popular messaging service in Brazil a 'sad day'.

"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," Zuckerberg in a wrote on his Facebook page in both English and Portuguese.

"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," he added.

The shutdown order stems from a criminal proceeding in the Sao Paulo State Justice Tribunal in Sao Bernardo do Campo. The case involves a drug trafficker linked to the PCC, or First Command of the Capital, one of Sao Paulo's biggest and most dangerous criminal gangs. The trafficker allegedly used WhatsApp services in the commission of crimes.

According to the court, WhatsApp failed to comply with a judicial order issued July 23. WhatsApp was notified again on August 7 when the court set a fine for non-compliance. On Wednesday, after finding WhatsApp in continued non-compliance, Judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques ordered the 48-hour shutdown under terms of the country's Internet legislation, the statement said.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in a $19 billion deal last year, adding to its kitty an app that's really popular in emerging markets like India and Brazil. Here's the English text of Mark Zuckerberg's statement on the subject in full:

Tonight, a Brazilian judge blocked WhatsApp for more than 100 million people who rely on it in her country.

We are working hard to get this block reversed. Until then, Facebook Messenger is still active and you can use it to communicate instead.

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.

We hope the Brazilian courts quickly reverse course. If you're Brazilian, please make your voice heard and help your government reflect the will of its people.

#ConnectBrazil #ConnectTheWorld

Written with agency inputs

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