The Chinese government has cracked down on the popular instant messaging service WhatsApp, blocking pictures, videos, and even some texts.
WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, was disrupted by the Chinese government on Tuesday reports the New York Times. WhatsApp was partially blocked by China’s “Great Firewall” filters, resulting in users being unable to send photos, videos, and even some texts through the instant messaging app.
WhatsApp is just one app affected by the Chinese government’s recent increase in online monitoring and new cybersecurity laws. The government clampdown comes amidst recent politically sensitive news and important events in Chinese politics over the last few months.
Tools that are used to bypass China’s strict internet laws and provide access to popular foreign TV shows, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), faced frequent disruption and service drops in the past few weeks. Earlier in July, a newspaper used as a mouthpiece of the country’s Communist party attacked Chinese company Tencent for their popular video game Honor of Kings for supposedly being addictive “poison.”
Nadim Kobeissi, an applied cryptographer at the cryptography research start-up Symbolic Software, said, “According to the analysis that we ran today on WhatsApp’s infrastructure, it seems that the Great Firewall is imposing censorship that selectively targets WhatsApp functionalities.”
A spokesperson for WhatsApp declined to comment on the app crackdown. It was also discovered this month that China could censor images sent through the country’s popular messaging app WeChat as they were transmitted, ensuring the recipient never sees what was sent to them.
It seems that Whatsapp may soon be added to the list of completely banned apps and internet services in China which already includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, and Gmail.