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Brazilian police detain Facebook executive on court order

March 1, 2016

Brazil’s federal police detained a Facebook executive Tuesday for failing to cooperate with judicial orders related to information on the company’s website in an investigation of drug trafficking.

A judge in Sergipe ordered the detention of Diego Dzodan, vice president of Latin America at Facebook and Instagram, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, after the social media company repeatedly failed to comply with a court order. The executive remains in custody and is responding to police questioning in Sao Paulo, according to a police statement.

Facebook’s press offices in Brazil and in New York didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and a phone call seeking comment on the arrest.

This isn’t the first run-in Facebook has had with Brazil’s law enforcement over data privacy. In December, a Brazilian court blocked Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service temporarily after it refused to turn over the content of communications between alleged drug dealers involved in a criminal case. The outage affected more than 100 million local users and elicited outrage on social media.

Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that he was stunned by the “extreme decision by a single judge to punish every person in Brazil who uses WhatsApp.”

© 2016, Bloomberg News

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