Latin America

WhatsApp Outruns the Law in Brazil

How an overzealous court brought Brazilians to their knees (at least for a day).

Not everyone gets it.

Photographer: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

For a moment this week, Brazilians actually looked up from their mobile phones. On Wednesday evening, a criminal court in Sao Paulo ordered a 48-hour shutdown of Facebook’s popular messaging service WhatsApp, leaving 100 million users bereft, the competition delighted, and lawyers in a lather.

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