China Blocks Access to WhatsApp

China Blocks Access to WhatsApp

In anticipation of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party, the Chinese government is tightening censorship and controls on the media. The ability to access the internet in China had already been curtailed by President Xi Jinping by banning VPN services, thanks to which the Chinese and multinational citizens in the country gain access to banned sites. Now it’s Whatsapp. Problems started yesterday when users suddenly could not send videos and photos to their contacts. For some, the block is extended to messages, but in most cases the app allows you to chat.

The selective filtering on media content leaves some doubt on the nature of censorship in China. At the moment it is not clear whether this is a temporary measure or a first phase which could lead to a total service block. Sources from The New York Times confirmed that the decision came from the government and has been implemented, as usual, by activating new filters in the central control system known as the “Great Firewall of China”.

Whatsapp is the most popular messaging service in the United States, Europe, South America, Russia, India and hundreds of other countries.But not in China, where the lead belongs to WeChat , a service of 900 million users that is, however, subject to a detailed control by Beijing’s censors. The app, which is owned by Facebook, is one of the few services that continue to offer encrypted communication channels which, at least on paper, the Chinese government is not able to intercept.

Facebook has been inaccessible throughout the territory of the People’s Republic since 2009, and Instagram since 2014. To date, nothing has changed despite the direct involvement of Mark Zuckerberg.

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