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WhatsApp Blocked in Brazil for 72 Hours

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A judge in Brazil ordered on Monday that phone companies block Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp throughout the country for 72 hours in response to its refusal to cooperate in a police investigation.

Judge Marcel Montalvao delivered the order because WhatsApp would not turn over information that could relate to an investigation into narcotics activity and an interstate gang. The ban will go into effect at 2 p.m. local time, Bloomberg reports, and the fine to phone companies for not blocking the app would be about $143,000 per day.

Roughly half of Brazil’s population of 200 million uses the messaging service as an economical alternative to other, pricier forms of communication, so the shutdown will have a big effect on many Brazilians.

This is the second time in six months a judge has suspended the service in Brazil, though a court overturned the previous decision in December.


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Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com