Brazil – Starting at Midnight Thursday Whatsapp was shut down in the country host of the 2016 Olympic Games. A Brazilian judge blocked the app for more than 100 million people who used the app in the country, Mark Zuckerberg announced. The suspension was going to last for two days but after 12 hours the service was restored.

Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO –the company that owns Whatsapp–, wrote the staff was working hard to get the block reversed. He said it was a sad day for Brazil, a country which has been an ally in creating an open internet, as he describe it.

Photo: WIRED.
The Brazilian authorities reverted the initial block just a few hours after it took place. Photo: WIRED.

The young entrepreneur invited Brazilians express their concerns to their government using the hashtag #ConnectBrazil and #ConnectTheWorld. He affirmed Brazilians have always being among the most passionate in sharing their voice online.

It is known that the decision of the shutdown was announced because the judge proclaimed Whatsapp did not delivered the government some information that prosecutors needed for a criminal investigation.

“As I understood from the media they wanted you to provide information about private messages and you rejected it. So you protected the core value of the product – secure communication. And it’s the only thing that matters” an user wrote to Jan Koum, CEO of Whatsapp.

According to a study published by the International Telecommunications Union a one-minute call costs three times more in Brazil than in the U.S. Brazilians pay 0,71 dollars per minute, at peak hours, for calls made between numbers from the same service provider, the researchers stated.  

The popularity of Whatsapp in Brazil is huge, nine in 10 smartphones in the country have the app installed. The Facebook owned app permits users send free messages, voices notes, make free calls and send images and videos, just by using an internet connection.

According to the Brazilian tech website TechTudo, there were more than 45 million users with the app in the country by April. Among the 15 most used apps in the country, Whatsapp is used by 93 percent of people with smartphones, which is more than the percentage Facebook  occupies, 79 percent.

The decision of shutting down the app for 48 hours came to an end on Thursday when a second Brazilian Court ordered the suspension had to be lifted, Wall Street Journal reported. Judge Xavier de Souza at the Sao Paolo court wrote because of constitutional principles it was not reasonable that million of users had to be affected.

“Thank you to everybody in Brazil for your support in getting WhatsApp back online. This is a victory for the Brazilian people, and we’re glad that your voices were heard loud and clear by people who represent them” Jan Koum, CEO of Whatsapp wrote in his Facebook Page.

Last year Whatsapp messenger was bought by Facebook for a $19 billion deal, which is one of the biggest transactions that has been made in the Silicon Valley history just after the acquirement of Compaq by HP in 2002 that costed $25 billion. In september Mark Zuckerberg announced 900 million people were part of the Whatsapp experience.

Source: The Wall Street Journal