WhatsApp collects some polemics. The most used messaging app in Brazil has already been blocked on a national scale and has even been accused of interfering in the presidential elections because of "fake news", the false news that spreads on the networks. In other countries, the app was also a concern of authorities, for example, when Momo became popular for calling children at dawn, and in cases of lynching that happened in India due to rumors in the app's groups. Here are five polemics involving WhatsApp.
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WhatsApp (brand) Photo: Anna Kellen Bull / Tech
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1. Blocking WhatsApp in 2015
In a block surrounded by mystery, WhatsApp was down for 48 in Brazil in 2015. Users of the operators Vivo, TIM, Claro and Oi were not using the application through mobile networks due to a precautionary measure imposed by the 1st Criminal Court of So Bernardo do Campo, in the state of So Paulo, after a request from the Public Ministry.
Based on the Marco Civil da Internet, the decision was made because the application did not meet a determination of Justice in July of the same year. As the criminal proceeding went under cover, the plaintiff and further details were not informed. Searched at the time, Facebook decided not to comment. A fine was determined in case of non-compliance with the decision.
Users were prevented from sending or receiving messages in 2015 Photo: Reproduo / TechTudo
2. Blocking and jailing for refusing to provide data in 2016
In a situation similar to the previous case, the messenger was also off the air for 24 hours in May 2016, this time due to a determination of the Justice of Sergipe. The difference is that, in this case, not only mobile phone companies (TIM, Oi, Vivo, Claro and Nextel) needed to prevent the use of the app, but also those responsible for broadband (via Wi-Fi).
The blockade occurred after a request for a precautionary measure from the Federal Police because the messenger did not comply with a previous court decision, which required the sharing of useful information for a criminal investigation. That same year, Diego Jorge Dzodan, vice president of Facebook in Latin America, was arrested in So Paulo for refusing to provide the data.
Diego Dzodan, vice president of Facebook for Latin America, was arrested in 2016 after the social network refused to provide data Justia Photo: Reproduo / Facebook
3. Limit of referrals after an episode of violence
In July 2018, the WhatsApp team decided to make changes to its forwarding mechanism. The change came after a series of rumors led to several deaths in India, a country with more than 200 million active users daily. At the time, more than 20 people were killed after false messages about alleged drug dealers who kidnapped and sold children. Aggression episodes were also recorded.
With the move, users in India were able to pass on content to a maximum of five people or limit groups of up to 20 people in the rest of the world, including Brazil. The app said only that the intention was "to improve security and privacy on WhatsApp", without further details.
WhatsApp started to show when a message had been forwarded Photo: Paulo Alves / TechTudo
Also this year it was the turn of another figure to cause controversy among users of the social network worldwide: WhatsApp from Momo. The subject gained worldwide prominence when Spanish-language newspapers reported in July that, through a type of chain, children and adolescents were encouraged to save a number from Japan (+81). Then Momo, the name given to the supposed to be evil, would start talking to them.
The most terrifying, according to reports, was the scary photo used in the profile. Despite looking like a woman, it was discovered that the image was a sculpture by a Japanese artist. During the episode, segments of the press raised the possibility of the number being a chatbot, a virtual robot programmed to respond to messages as if it were a person.
Sculpture in Japan served as the basis for the profile photo of the character Momo Photo: Reproduction / Internet
5. Fake news on WhatsApp in the election period
WhatsApp was identified as the main means used for the dissemination of false news, "fake news", among its users. In October of this year, in the middle of the second round of the Brazilian presidential race, the messenger removed hundreds of thousands of accounts from the application. Traced with the help of a filter capable of identifying spam, profiles that include numbers of Internet companies were suspected of shooting false news en masse, referring to the 2018 Elections.
The announcement came shortly after the newspaper Folha de So Paulo denounced an illegal contracting of message firing against the Workers' Party (PT) through WhatsApp. At the time, the messaging service declared "to take the complaint seriously and take legal action".
WhatsApp banned suspects suspected of spreading fake news Photo: Reproduo / Twitter
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