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Court in Brazil cuts fine for Facebook from $528 million to $5.9 million

Christian Fernsby |
Facebook Inc’s fine for withholding WhatsApp messages from a drug-trafficking investigation in Brazil should be reduced to 23 million reais ($5.9 million), a Brazilian federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

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The decision overturned a fine of around 2.035 billion reais ($528 million) imposed in June 2017, deemed disproportionate by the court.

In a statement to Reuters, a WhatsApp spokesperson welcomed the appeals court decision. “We care deeply about the privacy of our users and are grateful the Parana court affirmed the importance and legality of end-to-end encryption within Brazil. This significant decision will help safeguard the rights of people in Brazil to have safe and private conversations online.”

WhatsApp has more than 120 million users in Brazil, a country of nearly 210 million people, rivaling the reach of Facebook’s main platform in one of the company’s biggest global markets.

The messaging service has become one of the main ways Brazilians keep in touch with friends, colleagues and family, and also an important channel for getting political information.

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