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Photograph: Photo by E1N7E, used under CC0

A Brazil court blocked WhatsApp across the country Tuesday for the third time in a year in an ongoing spat between the messaging service and authorities over user records WhatsApp says it does not have, according to media reports.

A court in Rio de Janeiro ordered Brazil's mobile phone providers to suspend support for the Facebook-owned service and said it would fine the company 50,000 reales (15,625 dollars) a day until it provides authorities with copies of messages sent through its system they seek in a criminal investigation, GloboNews reported.

Earlier this year, WhatsApp said it had introduced end-to-end encryption on all of its services, making it impossible for anyone but users themselves to access their communications.

The order was the third time a Brazilian judge had shut down WhatsApp in similar disputes over evidence WhatsApp has said it can not provide.

In December, a judge ordered a 48-hour suspension of the service, which was reversed by a higher court after 14 hours. In May, the service was ordered offline for three days, then was back online after 24 hours.

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum said the company was working to get back online in Brazil, and called the block "shocking."

"As before, millions of people are cut off from friends, loved ones, customers and colleagues today, simply because we are being asked for information we don't have," he said in a Facebook post.

Used by more than 100 million Brazilians, WhatsApp is by far Brazil's most popular messaging service and among its largest markets.

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