Earlier this year, WhatsApp users in the country had started experiencing difficulties in sending photos and videos to their contacts.
The services of the Facebook-owned messaging app had been disrupted by the Chinese government’s internet filters earlier this year, following the new cybersecurity law implemented in June.
And now the online messaging service has been completely banned in China, confirmed by a New York Times report. This can be viewed as part of the broader internet censorship crackdown being implemented by the Chinese government.
Last month, the country’s government moved to ban anonymity from the internet. China’s internet regulators released new rules that state that users will need to provide their real identity if they want to participate in online comments.
WeChat is now Unrivalled
Now that WhatsApp is banned, WeChat — which is already a more popular messaging alternative in the country — will have even more room for growth.
WeChat collaborates with the country’s censorship authorities to erase messages and accounts with ‘sensitive’ political material, unlike WhatsApp, whose messages are encrypted.
Popular social networking services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and many more are already banned by the Great Firewall of China and WhatsApp is the latest one to join the list.
The WhatsApp ban adds to the internet crackdown by the government as it looks to control what media is accessible to its citizens and what’s not. They have even been censoring their own native websites such as Sina Weibo and recently put limitations on its streaming capabilities.
Social networks aren’t the only ones feeling the brunt of the situation as credible news publications such as The New York Times, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and more are also blocked in the country, as are video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube.
All of Google’s services, including their search engine is banned in the country and this has given more room for indigenous tech companies to gain popularity.
The WhatsApp ban in China is a double-blow for Facebook, which has been banned in the country since 2009.