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Deprived of WhatsApp for 12 Hours, Brazilians Rediscover "Real Life"

12/18/2015 - 09h02

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FERNANDA MENA
FROM SÃO PAULO

And suddenly, there was silence. That whistle (or ring), capable of interrupting conversations, work, personal hygiene routines and even lovemaking, stopped.

For many, this digital silence was like a premonition of the end.

"First, I panicked. Then, I got really annoyed. Straight away, I tried to find other ways of getting over the lack of WhatsApp," said banker Henrique Rocha, 28, who had a WhatsApp conversation interrupted at midnight on Wednesday (16). "We're not used to making calls anymore. I had to call my friend. It was really weird."

The instant messaging app was blocked for 12 hours in Brazil following a court order. The order was for 48 hours, but a magistrate ordered that the block be lifted.

The decision to block the app came from the 1st Criminal Court of São Bernardo do Campo, in the state of São Paulo, a reprisal against WhatsApp for refusing to release information exchanged by criminal suspects.

Once users got over the initial withdrawal symptoms, some of them discovered that there is a life outside WhatsApp, without the constant interruptions from groups of colleagues, family members and friends, not to mention the individual conversations.

"I decided to interact with some people here at homeI think they're part of that WhatsApp group called "Family"," joked a Twitter user. The most popular hashtag during this time was #Nessas-48HorasEuVou ["#Inthese-48HoursImGoingto"].

On social networks, many memes appeared mocking those who finally lifted their eyes from the screen of their cell phone and rediscovered their parents, siblings and friends.

The student João Paulo Nascimento, 24, read for four hours straight on Thursday (17) morning, without looking at his phone. "I got this free time, and it was amazing. Everything was so calm" he said.

Still, in a shop in the Higienópolis shopping mall in São Paulo, there were cries of joy around midday on Thursday (17) when WhatsApp returned. "It's back everyone! WhatsApp is back!" yelled a customer, elated. Everyone took out their phones. And people no longer had to look one another in the face.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

Read the article in the original language

Igor do Vale/Folhapress
A Brazilian court ordered telecommunications providers to block all access to the phone-messaging application for 48 hours
A Brazilian court ordered telecommunications providers to block all access to the phone-messaging application for 48 hours

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