Yesterday, a Brazilian court issued a temporary ban to WhatsApp thanks to lobbying by telcos in the country. The criminal case was about how WhatsApp’s voice functionality was unregulated and illegal since the telcos pay the activation and ongoing fees for phone numbers which WhatsApp doesn’t pay. An operator in Brazil was also quoted as saying that WhatsApp was a pirate operator and they were questioning its operating model. WhatsApp’s voice functionality was even compared to Skype which was termed as legal because it requires one to login to it to make a call instead of using your actual phone number.
This move by the court was met by backlash by Brazilians on social media and also by WhatsApp’s founder Jan Koum where he expressed his disappointment towards the decision. Mark Zuckerberg also jotted down his two cents about the matter where he said “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 went on to say that “we are working hard to get this block reversed” and sure did, the ruling was overruled.
According to the BBC, a judge ruled that WhatsApp should be reinstated immediately in the country where she was quoted as saying that it was “not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company.” 93 million internet users in the country were using the service and thanks to the ban, it led to 1.5 million Brazilians signing up for Telegram Messenger. Other chatting like Facebook Messenger were still functional according to Facebook.