A judge in Brazil has blocked access to messaging service WhatsApp for 72 hours and rejected an initial appeal against the shutdown imposed on the company owned by facebook.
“WhatsApp is now back online in Brazil!” Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his page at the leading online social network.
Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday called for Brazilians to sign a petition or go to Congress to prevent his company’s WhatsApp messaging service from being blocked again.
The judge, Marcel Montalvao, issued the order because WhatsApp owner Facebook failed to hand over information requested in a criminal investigation.
Local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that the ban would begin at 2 p.m. local time and that phone companies in the country would face fines if they did not comply.
WhatsApp was temporarily shut down in December for similar reasons.
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 judge ordered the arrest of Facebook’s vice president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, in March. The federal police detained a Facebook executive for failing to co-operate with judicial orders related to information on the company’s website in an investigation of drug trafficking.
The service is widely used in Brazil, where mobile phone owners face some of the highest charges in the world.
The free app is installed in nine in 10 smartphones in the country.
The order came into place from 1400 local time (17:00 GMT) and applies to Brazil’s five main mobile operators.
Any violators of the ban will reportedly be fined BRL 500,000, approximately US $140,000.
On that occasion, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg called it “a sad day for Brazil,” noting the country’s history of support for an open Internet.