Facebook Executive Detained By Brazilian Authorities

Facebook Executive Detained By Brazilian Authorities
Photo Credit: Alvy via Compfight cc

A Facebook top official in Brazil was arrested after not sharing WhatsApp data. The data, in the form of instant messages, are said to be in connection to a high profile drug investigation. The incident happened this Tuesday, March 1.


Facebook Vice President for Latin America Diego Dzodan was detained by the São Paulo police for failing to provide the requested information and ignoring a judicial order in a drug crime investigation. The Guardian reports that he was taken into custody at the Garulhos airport and is now being questioned regarding the social media’s messaging application, WhatsApp, and its alleged non-compliance with a court order.

The Washington Post reports that the Federal Police of Brazil in the north eastern state of Sergipe were the ones who requested the arrest. This decision was made after the social network failed repeatedly to comply with the court orders to supply information. WhatsApp spokesperson Matt Steinfeld meanwhile said that the company’s platform is simply not made for wiretaps.

The firm is based separately in California and does not have a Brazilian office and doesn’t even store the messages from its app on its servers. Instead it encrypts them when they are in transit between users. Steinfeld reiterates that “WhatsApp cannot provide information we do not have” and also cleared that Dzodan is simple detained not arrested.

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Meanwhile Facebook said in a statement that said that they have always been available to answer the questions that the authorities have. The spokesperson also said that the firm is “disappointed with the extreme and disproportionate measure of having a Facebook executive escorted to a police station in connection with a case involving WhatsApp, which operates separately from Facebook.

This incident marks the second time that the social networking firm has clashed with the Brazilian authorities. It could be recalled that last December, a different judge ordered the shutdown of WhatsApp within Brazil for a period of 48 hours after the company was accused of non-compliance to a criminal investigation. The ruling has affected a lot of users the first day but luckily for them, the order was overturned the next day reports The Wall Street Journal.

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