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Brazilian police detain Facebook executive over WhatsApp info dispute

Brazilian federal police have detained a Facebook executive over a legal dispute concerning information from Facebook-owned WhatsApp, according to a Reuters report now confirmed by Facebook.

Held for questioning in Sao Paulo

Diego Dzodan, Facebook's vice president for Latin America, was detained in Sao Paulo by police Tuesday for questioning about WhatsApp information relating to a drug-trafficking investigation, Reuters reports. Authorities are seeking access to WhatsApp messages involved in the case, according to The Wall Street Journal

"We're 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," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. "Facebook has always been and will be available to address any questions Brazilian authorities may have."

A WhatsApp spokesperson also called the move an "extreme step," and claimed that it can't access the information requested by law enforcement. "We cooperated to the full extent of our ability in this case and while we respect the important job of law enforcement, we strongly disagree with its decision," the spokesperson said in a statement.

This isn't the first time WhatsApp has run into legal problems in Brazil. The service was briefly suspended last year after failing to provide court-ordered information.