Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg urged the people of Brazil to demand that authorities never block Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp again. On Tuesday, an appeals court overturned the second suspension of the application in five months.
Facebook CEO asks Brazilians to support legislation
In a post on his Facebook page, Zuckerberg – a U.S. billionaire and one of the most influential people in the world — asked the people of Brazil to gather outside Congress in the capital Brasilia on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (1700 EDT) to rally in favor of legislation that would prevent internet services from being blocked.
In the post, Zuckerberg wrote, “You and your friends can help make sure this never happens again, and I hope you get involved.”
Further, the CEO posted a link to a petition.
On Monday after a judge in the remote northeastern state of Sergipe ordered five main Brazilian operators to block access to the app for 72 hours, WhatsApp was cut off at 2 p.m. (1300 EDT) in Brazil. The reason behind the order was not made public. In a statement, the court said after an appeals judge ruled in favor of an injunction that the suspension of WhatsApp’s text message and Internet voice telephone service was lifted on Tuesday after about 24 hours. Around 100 million users were affected.
The imprisonment of a Brazil-based Facebook executive was ordered by the same judge in Sergipe owing to a dispute over demands to access Facebook’s encrypted messaging service as part of a drug trafficking investigation.
Not the first time
On Monday in a statement, California-based WhatsApp said it was “disappointed” about the judge’s decision to suspend its services. It did not have the information the court was requesting and had done everything to cooperate with the Brazilian tribunals, the messaging service said.
To improve communication and make it clear that the messaging service cannot access users’ encrypted messages, WhatsApp executives will meet with law enforcement and judicial officials in Brazil this week, said Matt Steinfeld, a Facebook spokesman.
This is not the first time that WhatsApp has been suspended in Brazil. On December 15, a São Paulo state judge ordered a shutdown of the messaging service after it failed to comply with an order. Later, another court lifted the suspension.
Users in Brazil were quite frustrated with the suspension. Cost-conscious Brazilians are avid users of free messaging apps and by far, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the region.