Chinese WhatsApp users have reported heavy disruption of the service since Sunday. It is believed that the communist government has begun to block text messages from the app, or at least has found a way to interfere with the encryption services used by WhatsApp.
As it stands, China already had a watchful eye on the instant messaging service. Voice messages, videos, and images were already blocked from being sent. What is happening now appears to be the logical progression of censorship over the second most widely used chat service in the country.
WhatsApp owner Facebook is already banned in China, and this latest turn of events represents a heavy blow to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans. He has been looking to enter the world’s most lucrative online market for some time now, and has even stealthily launched an app to test the waters. However, it looks like the Chinese have other things in mind.
Social media and instant messaging are heavily censored in China, with blocks being placed on most secure solutions. Most users will likely be on China’s homegrown WeChat. Although, that comes with its own set of problems; seeing that the app recently reminded users that it will happily turn over all user data to the Chinese government.
WhatsApp users can still try to use a VPN to tunnel past the censorship. That said, China has also been clamping down on VPN usage in the country. No actual blocks have been reported but the Chinese are only allowed to use networks provided from state-approved sources.
[Source: New York Times]