A Brazilian judge has issued an order to wireless phone carriers to block access to Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp for 72 hours throughout Latin America’s largest country on Monday. This is the second such move against the popular messaging application in less than six months.
Judge Marcel Montalvao, from the northeastern state of Sergipe, issued the order to phone companies according to a statement posted on the court’s website Monday.
Folha, which had reported the decision earlier, said the fine for not cutting off the service would be 500,000 reais ($143,000) a day. SindiTelebrasil, the country’s phone-company association, said the companies would comply with the ruling. Phone operators in Brazil include Oi SA, Telefonica Brasil SA, Tim Participacoes SA, Claro SA and Nextel.
In a statement, WhatsApp said the company is “disappointed at the decision” after doing the utmost to cooperate with Brazilian tribunals.
The decision “punishes more than 100 million users who depend upon us to communicate themselves, run their business and more, just to force us hand over information that we don’t have,” the statement said, without elaborating.
In December, a judge in Sao Paulo ordered WhatsApp be blocked for 48 hours after it refused to comply with a court order, affecting its more than 100 million local users and eliciting outrage on social media. The block was lifted in about 12 hours.
In March, federal police detained a Facebook executive for failing to cooperate with judicial orders related to information on the company’s website in an investigation of drug trafficking.