A Brazilian judge ordered wireless phone carriers to block access to Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp for 72 hours throughout Latin America’s largest country starting Monday afternoon, the second such incident against the popular messaging application in five months.
The decision by the judge in the northeastern state of Sergipe applies to the five main wireless operators in Brazil. The reason for the order is not known due to legal secrecy in an ongoing case in the Sergipe state court.
Representatives at Facebook (FB.O) in Sao Paulo could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could executives at the five carriers – Telefonica Brasil SA, América Móvil SAB’s Claro, TIM Participações SA, Oi SA and Nextel Participações SA.
Judge Marcel Maia Montalvão is the same judge who in March ordered the imprisonment of a Facebook executive based in Brazil for failing to comply with an attempted block on WhatsApp. He was jailed and subsequently freed.
This is the second time since mid-December that the ubiquitous text message and Internet voice telephone service for smartphones has been target of a blocking order.
A judge in the state of São Paulo ordered that the service be shut down for 48 hours after Facebook failed to comply with an order, although another court shortly after interrupted that suspension.
(Reporting by Alberto Alerigi Jr and Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Mary Milliken)