Zuckerberg slams Brazil for trying to block WhatsApp

Zuckerberg slams Brazil for trying to block WhatsApp
© Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBipartisan attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap planned Instagram for kids Hillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Oversight Board achieving what government cannot MORE says the prospect of messaging service WhatsApp or other communication services being blocked in Brazil is “very scary.”

His comments Tuesday came after Facebook successfully appealed a judge's order to block WhatsApp in the country for 72 hours because the company refused to comply with a court data request in a criminal case.


“Your voices have been heard once again,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “That said, the idea that everyone in Brazil can be denied the freedom to communicate the way they want is very scary in a democracy.”

He urged Brazilians to sign a petition and support lawmakers introducing laws to prevent the blocking of internet services. WhatsApp is hugely popular in Brazil, with an estimated 100 million users, and the outage reportedly was front-page news in the country.

Zuckerberg’s call for action echoed comments made by WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum earlier on Tuesday when the appeal was granted.

“We have no intention of compromising people's security and we hope those impacted by this decision join us in making their voices heard in support of an open and secure internet,” Koum said. “The last thing we want is to see WhatsApp blocked again.”

The companies have been at odds with Brazilian officials before. In December, a similar ban was overturned within hours. A Facebook executive was detained in March because WhatsApp was not turning over information in a drug case.

The company says it is unable to hand over information in the cases because it encrypts its message data. It recently rolled out end-to-end encryption as the default setting in the application.