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Image credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

Facebook fined $33 million for failing to help Brazilian authorities 

Once again, the social media company and Brazilian courts butt heads.
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Facebook's vice president for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, poses for a photograph in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 18, 2017. Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

Facebook has had a contentious relationship with Brazilian authorities, and its WhatsApp messenger has suffered multiple service bans for failing to cooperate. Two years ago, a court froze around $6 million of the company's cash after it didn't hand over data for a criminal investigation over drug smuggling. It seems the social media platform still isn't cooperating. Reuters reports that a judge just handed down a 111.7 reais ($33 million) fine regarding Facebook's failure to grant authorities access to messages as part of a health fraud investigation.

The case reaches back to 2016, when authorities looking into corruption in the Brazilian state of Amazonas requested WhatsApp messages exchanged by individuals suspected of scheming to defraud the state's health system. The fine was originally one million reais, according to Reuters, but grew with interest every day Facebook didn't comply with the order starting in June 2016 until the investigation was made public in September.

"Facebook cooperates with law enforcement. In this particular case we have disclosed the data required by applicable law," a Facebook statement provided to Reuters said. "We understand this fine lacks grounds, and are exploring all legal options at our disposal."

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