In China WhatsApp blocked ahead of Communist meeting

whatsapp

WhatsApp blocked In China :

China has largely blocked the WhatsApp messaging app, the latest move by Beijing to step up surveillance ahead of a big Communist Party gathering next month.

The disabling in mainland China of the Facebook-owned app is a setback for the social media giant, whose chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been pushing to re-enter the Chinese market, and has been studying the Chinese language intensively. WhatsApp was the last of Facebook products to still be available in mainland China; the company’s main social media service has been blocked in China since 2009, and its Instagram image-sharing app is also unavailable.

In mid-July, Chinese censors began blocking video chats and the sending of photographs and other files using WhatsApp, and they stopped many voice chats, as well. But most text messages on the app continued to go through normally. The restrictions on video, audio chats and file sharing were at least temporarily lifted after a few weeks.

For the last few days, WhatsApp has been almost entirely inaccessible for most in China, leading to speculation that this might finally be the end for the app here.

Over the past few months, WhatsApp users in China have frequently complained about being unable to log into their account or send messages as China’s Net Nanny appeared to be regularly fiddling around with the social messaging app that counts more than a billion users worldwide — but few in mainland China.

Then, on Monday, the New York Times published an article declaring that WhatsApp had been blocked as part of a drive to escalate online censorship in the lead-up to next month’s big party congress. The Times spoke with Nadim Kobeissi, an applied cryptographer at Symbolic Software, a Paris-based research firm that also monitors digital censorship in China, who said that China was stepping up its censorship of the app.

“Essentially, it seems that what we initially monitored as censorship of WhatsApp’s photo, video and voice note sharing capabilities in July has now evolved to what appears to be consistent text messaging blocking and throttling across China,” Kobeissi told The Verge.

Of course, WhatsApp happens to be owned by Facebook, which has been blocked in mainland China since 2009. WhatsApp was the Silicon Valley’s last entity that remained unblocked in the Middle Kingdom (well, if you don’t count Colorful Balloons), with Instagram also falling behind the Great Firewall.

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