WhatsApp is now available on web browsers
WhatsApp is now available on web browsers

Brazil WhatsApp ban lifted as judge says it is not fair for users to be punished for company’s ‘inertia’

The app is said to be the country’s most popular, with around 100 million users

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 17 December 2015 18:03
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Brazil has quickly reversed a ban on WhatsApp that was to leave the country without its most popular app for two days.

A judge ordered the messaging app to be banned because it wasn’t co-operating with a criminal investigation.

But another court has ruled that the service can be switched on immediately.

Judge Xavier de Souza said it was "not reasonable that millions of users be affected by the inertia of the company."

WhatsApp is reportedly the most popular app in Brazil, with around 100 million users in the country. The service offers free text and voice messaging over the internet, as well as the ability to make voice calls, also for free.

The app has around 900 million users globally, placing it well ahead of other social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

Earlier, Brazilian media had reported that Judge Sandra Regina Nostre Marques applied the ban in relation to the app's withholding of messages relating to a suspect in a drug trafficking investigation.

In a statement on Facebook, WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum had criticised the initial decision.

"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," he said.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had also criticised the ban on his personal Facebook page, saying he was "stunned" by the decision.

Brazilians had taken to social media in their thousands to complain about the ban, which is hugely popular in the country as a free way of communicating via text message and voice calls.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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