WhatsApp Video and Photo Messages Reportedly Blocked in China

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China has reportedly started blocking some features of the WhatsApp messaging service, as authorities continue to tighten controls over the country's internet.

WhatsApp users began reporting problems with sharing content on the chat platform yesterday, with many unable to send video and pictures. Despite initial fears of a communications-wide ban of the Facebook-owned service, text-based messages within the app appear to be unaffected.

WhatsApp's reach in China is small compared to homegrown chat service WeChat, which boasts 900 million users but is routinely subjected to state monitoring and censorship. However, Chinese users concerned about privacy have increasingly turned to the encrypted WhatsApp platform to communicate with friends and relatives as well as businesses abroad.

Facebook and Instagram have remained blocked by China's Great Firewall since 2009 and 2014, respectively. Encrypted messaging service Telegram was also blocked inside China after it became popular with the country's human rights lawyers, while several domestic VPNs – which are commonly used to evade censorship and access services abroad – were recently shut down after authorities said they were unauthorized to run.

China appears to be clamping down on potential sources of politically sensitive news as it prepares for a major leadership reshuffle in Beijing. The event happens every five years and often leads to a tightening of online controls to project an air of stability in the country. The death of jailed Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo last week also spurred censors into action, with commemorations on WeChat reportedly blocked by authorities.

(Via The New York Times.)

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Top Rated Comments

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40 months ago
China is leading the way. Western government's are following suit.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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40 months ago


Second thing, I really doubt WhatsApp is encrypted. Facebook paid $20B for it, and its free. It doesn't make sense.

Whatsapp is end to end encrypted.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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40 months ago
Need to come up with a way of making it impossible to block an app without shutting down the entire internet...

What will China do once satellite internet is readily available? Shoot down satellites?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

Need to come up with a way of making it impossible to block an app without shutting down the entire internet...

What will China do once satellite internet is readily available? Shoot down satellites?

I guess blocking the sale of Satellite dishes/antennas/aerials will do the trick.

Example, satellite TV is not allowed in Singapore so they ban Sat. receivers and dishes.
This doesn't mean you can't really get them, people hide dishes in giant flower pots and smuggle dishes
into Singapore.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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