Similar to the popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, now WhatsApp the popular messaging app has joined the list that are blocked by the Chinese government. Facebook owned popular messaging app, WhatsApp had its services partially blocked in China this week as part of a government crackdown on the internet. The app, which is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide, was also the last of Facebook’s major products still functioning within China’s Great Firewall.
WhatsApp users living in the country experienced a partial block. Most Chinese users were unable to send videos or photos through the app, and some couldn’t even send text messages. WhatsApp, with nearly 2 million users in China, is not as popular as China’s most used messaging app, WeChat, which has around 490 million active users in the country and more than 900 million users worldwide. But some Chinese users prefer to use WhatsApp for its end-to-end encryption, which makes it extremely difficult for anyone except the sender and receiver to access a message.
WhatsApp is learned to be caught in a crossfire of a recent tightening of controls in online controls by Chinese leadership in Beijing. The latest crackdown has targeted political, news sites and services and may be dismissed by a new cyber security law that took effect last month.
Other than WhatsApp, websites which are hosting foreign television shows were hit by the recent internet blockage. The government also blocked a China-based technology company, ownesa number of video game subsidiaries including Riot Games and Epic Games, for creating games that are too addictive.
The country is not new with the term block. The Chinese government has blocked nearly 172 of the top 1,000 most viewed websites in the world like Alexa, Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.