Procon-SP notified this Tuesday (5) WhatsApp, an application that belongs to Facebook, for having been down for more than six hours in the afternoon of last Monday. In a statement that cites the notification, the agency’s executive director, Fernando Capez, says that there was “deficient service provision” by the messenger.
For Procon-SP, it is not clear the reason that caused the fall of WhatsApp yesterday afternoon. In addition to the messenger, all Facebook services went through a blackout, which affected the social network’s app and Instagram.
According to Fernando Capez, Procon-SP filed a notification against WhatsApp because it understands that many people suffered “losses” due to “deficient provision of services”.
Capez says in a video sent to Techblog:
“Only in an external fortuitous event, which is a very strong earthquake, for example, will you be able to exempt WhatsApp from responsibility. Internal failures do not exempt the service provider from liability.”
WhatsApp may be fined up to R$10.7 million
Procon-SP emphasizes that consumers who feel harmed by the fall of WhatsApp should wait for the responses of the messenger to the pro-consumer body. In this sense, Capez defines that the entity can manifest itself again and apply a fine to WhatsApp Brasil — which can reach up to R$ 10.7 million.
The answers will define whether WhatsApp was or was not responsible for any moral and material damages suffered by users of the app.
According to Facebook, the global application failure that reached billions of users was caused by a defect in a configuration of its routers. The publication with the explanation for the blackout was signed by Santosh Janardhan, vice president of infrastructure for the social network. The services only returned to the air around 19:00, Brasília time, still with fluctuations.
On the official Facebook blog, he said:
“Our engineering teams found that changes to the configurations of the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused problems that disrupted that communication. This disruption in network traffic has had a ripple effect on the way our data centers communicate, disrupting our services.”
According to the executive, there is no evidence that user data have been compromised with the collapse of services.
What Experts Say About Indemnity
For the lawyer specializing in consumer law, Caroline Dinucci, the notification of Procon-SP is plausible because WhatsApp must maintain the provision of service like any other telecommunications operator. “The Procon-SP would notify in the same way, as the agency has the role of overseeing and promoting the improvement of the consumer market. Therefore, I understand that the action taken on Tuesday makes sense”, added Dinucci.
Also according to the lawyer, it also does not matter that the failure was global, as it inevitably affected Brazilian consumers.
For Felipe Caon, partner at Serur Advogados, the notification from Procon-SP is also legitimate. But he points out that:
This does not mean, however, that there was a failure, nor that there was an effective damage to the population, which justifies the imposition of a fine against WhatsApp. A more assertive answer can only be given from the answer that will be presented by the institution.
For Dinucci, it is possible that consumers and companies – who offer their services and serve customers through WhatsApp – go to court against the platform because of yesterday’s blackout:
“The claim for compensation from consumers submitted to the Court must demonstrate the moral or material damage generated by the failure. A sick person who only communicates through WhatsApp and who was incommunicado for more than 6 hours yesterday, for example. The person must still prove a relationship with the damage, which we call causality. Only then can the action be accepted by the Judiciary.”