In a move many would describe as government censoring the public, the Brazilian government today shut down WhatsApp for 48 hours.
No clear reason was given for the shutdown of the service. However, it’s been know for a while that the country’s telecommunication companies have been trying to convince the government to classify WhatsApp as an unregulated, illegal service and have been looking for ways to shut down WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is used by a whopping 93 million users in Brazil. This shutdown has led users to adopt the rival app called Telegram Messenger, which has been seeing rapid adoption, amassing 1.5 million new users in the past few hours.
Rumors have been flying around that the telecom companies see WhatsApp as a threat because users are abandoning landline services due to their use of WhatsApp.
Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, who own WhatsApp, issued a statement saying that they were disappointed and hoped that Brazil would reverse the shutdown sooner than later.
It is yet another move by Government in trying to censor citizens. Although the reasons aren’t clear, a shutdown of a major service like WhatsApp will definitely raise some eyebrows from groups like Anonymous and Privacy advocates.
We’ll see what actions the Brazilian government will take next.