WhatsApp is used by 93 percent of Brazil’s population, which Brazilian telecoms says undermines their services.
WhatsApp will be off line throughout Brazil for 48 hours after a court in that country ordered telecommunications companies to block the popular messaging app.
The Facebook-owned messaging and voice app was shut down for noncompliance with a criminal proceeding, according to a statement provided to Reuters by a Brazilian court in Sao Paulo. Telecommunications companies said the app would be shut down at midnight (6 p.m. PT) after Wednesday’s court order.
The shutdown in Brazil, Latin America’s largest country, comes as Brazilian telecommunications companies have sought to curtail the meteoric growth of WhatsApp, which is used by people around the world to send texts without paying carrier fees. The companies claim the app undermines their own services, Reuters reported.
The messaging app is the most popular app in Brazil, used by about 93 percent of the population, according to a survey cited by TechTudo, a Brazilian tech website.
The shutdown order came after the Sao Paulo State Justice Tribunal in São Bernardo do Campo determined WhatsApp had not complied with two earlier court orders issued this summer, Reuters reported. The nature of the case and the identity of the petitioner seeking the injunction were not immediately known.
WhatsApp and Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Jan Koum, the CEO of WhatsApp, wrote in a Facebook post that the company was disappointed by the court’s decision.
Founded in 2009, WhatsApp started life as a basic text-messaging app but one that also offered the ability to leave voice messages. The app, which operates on just about every mobile platform, has also rolled out a voice calling feature, firing a shot across the bow of services like Skype and Viber.
WhatsApp has experienced consistent growth since it was acquired by Facebook last year for $19 billion — one of the largest deals in Silicon Valley history. In September, WhatsApp said it had more than 900 million monthly active users, twice the number of users it had 12 months earlier.