One day after a judge in Brazil ordered the full suspension of the cellphone chat and voice app WhatsApp for 48 hours, which cutoff millions from one of the most popular communications services in the country, another judge ended the ban by overruling the first.
Brazilians expressed outrage and black humor while tech giants were worried over the heavy hand by the state after a judge on Thursday banned the service for a period of 48 hours.
The service is used so widely across Brazil that people ask often for your WhatsApp instead of your telephone number. The ban started Wednesday at midnight.
Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook described what happened as a sad day for Brazil but then celebrated the second judge’s decision to lift the ban.
Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014 and Zuckerberg has said the app has more than 100 million users across Brazil.
Judge Sandra Marques imposed the ban in Sao Bernardo do Campo in the city of Sao Paulo due to the company not complying with a court order to provide information for an ongoing criminal investigation that is secret.
The company did not respond to, two court notifications during July and August so prosecutors asked for the ban in a form of retaliation.
However, Judge Xavier de Souza on Thursday in a higher court announced an overruling of the ban. He said it was not reasonable that millions of WhatsApp users are affected due to the company’s inertia.
A newspaper in Sao Paulo said that WhatsApp was banned because the App would not provide the messages that criminal gangs had swapped.
The newspaper report said WhatsApp had said that it did not have information that had been requested.
Jan Koum the creator of WhatsApp lamented the Brazilian ban, but celebrated its restoration calling it a victory for the people of Brazil as their voices have been heard by those who represent them.
The service is estimated to have more than 900 million users monthly.
It became popular first in the low-income communities in Brazil known as the favelas where it is known as sap sap and as 3G services started to become available, it spread to the middle class.