Whatsapp ban lifted in Brazil

Riddhi Sharma
New Update

After being shut down for 48 hours on 15 December 2015, Whatsapp was banned again on 2nd May 2016 for 72 hours, which highlighted the growing pressures between technology companies' privacy concerns and national authorities' attempts to use social media to gain information on possible criminal activities. Though the ban has been lifted, Mark Zuckerberg has urged citizens to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


"You and your friends can help make sure this never happens again, and I hope you get involved," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. "The idea that everyone in Brazil can be denied the freedom to communicate the way they want is very scary in a democracy."

He further added, "Brazilians have been leaders in connecting the world and creating an open internet for many years. I hope you make your voice heard now and demand change."

Monday's suspension angered many in Brazil, where the service is used by individuals, companies and federal and local governments to send messages and share pictures and videos, affecting 100 million users. Cost-conscious Brazilians are avid users of free messaging apps, and WhatsApp is by far the most popular - installed on more than 90 percent of Android devices.


Matt Steinfeld, a Facebook spokesman, said WhatsApp executives were meeting this week with law enforcement and judicial officials in Brazil to improve communication and clarify that the company cannot see users' encrypted messages and does not store them after transmission.

Lower house deputy Esperidiao Amin, the rapporteur of the commission, said his proposed reform would help avoid shutdowns of this kind by allowing the blocking of specific individuals or IP addresses suspected of illicit activity, rather than the access of all users.

"It's less dramatic than withdrawing the service from the whole of the Brazilian population," he said.

As some Brazilians sought an alternative messaging system, rival Telegram said on Monday that it suffered technical problems under the weight of demand. It said it received more than a million new user requests.