A judge in Sao Paolo has told telecoms companies to block access to the use of popular phone messaging application Whatsapp, for 2 days after failing to comply with a July court order in a criminal case.
SindiTelebrasil, a Brazilian phone-company association, said it received the order to shut off WhatsApp text message and Internet voice telephone service throughout Latin America’s largest country Wednesday afternoon. The blockade went into effect at midnight (0200 GMT Thursday) as required by the court.
Whatsapp is very popular in Brazil and reportedly has about 100 million popular users in the country. The app is widely used by people, companies and federal and local governments to make calls, send messages and share pictures and videos.
Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, has however expressed disappointment at the short sighted 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.
In a swift move, a rival messaging service company, Telegram, says it has received a total of 1.5 million users and has got all hands on deck to accommodate the crazy load.