Viber appears to be the next instant messaging service to fall victim to the Great Firewall of China as some users are reporting that messages are not being sent or received. This follows recent news that Line, KakaoTalk, and Instagram are blocked in the country; yet, oddly enough, WhatsApp continues to be untouched.
Both TechCrunch and TechInAsia have tested the service and concluded that there is indeed something preventing messages from being received. The sign up page for Viber is also not functioning, and users that attempt to sign up are greeted with a notification indicating that the app is unable to connect to the service. Unconfirmed reports are saying that Viber is still functional on China Unicom’s 3G network.
China firewall watchdog GreatFire.org has not yet confirmed that the outage is the work of the Chinese goverment; although it is currently rating the service at 64% blocked in the country. Tests reveal that it was blocked on the 29th of October, but results since then have been contradictory. This would mean that while the app is not working for a majority of people, it is still not completely blocked off.
The Chinese government has been on a mission to tighten control over social media and communications since several unrests began in the country. Riots in the Uighur region and Hong Kong have both resulted in many foreign instant messaging apps being blocked. Many users turned to Viber after the most recent round of blocks, although this latest event could be the Communist government attempting to push them to the locally developed QQ messaging service.