China is not a country best known for freedom of speech and expression. The Chinese government keeps blocking popular social media platforms to keep its people from sharing their views and opinions.
Now, WhatsApp has been blocked in China, as reported by The New York Times. The report states, WhatsApp had been "broadly disrupted in China." The widely-used messaging app has joined other major apps including Facebook and Instagram that are also censored by the Chinese government. Notably, this is not the first time WhatsApp has faced disruptions in the country.
The app was disrupted more than once over the course of last few months. In one such case, users were unable to send photos or have video calls over WhatsApp. This time though, users are not even being able to send text chats. Yesterday, WhatsApp apparently went down completely.
While the Chinese government, as usual, has given no explanation, we can possibly guess the reason. WhatsApp has end-to-end message encryption technology, which the government doesn't like.
In addition, the government just wants to increase the surveillance ahead of the upcoming Communist Party gathering. As some you of may know, they closely monitor and restrict cyberspace with the help of the "Great Firewall".
According to CNN, those using international SIM cards and data packs faced no problems while using WhatsApp. This means WhatsApp was only disrupted for China-based users.
Needless to say, this comes as a bad news to Mark Zuckerberg, since WhatsApp is currently owned by Facebook. He has been trying desperately to strengthen the foothold of WhatsApp in China. Unfortunately, Chinese citizens are prohibited from using Facebook since the year 2009.