Reports suggest that the world’s most popular instant messaging service, WhatsApp, is being blocked in mainland China.
According to the New York Times, the Chinese government is intensifying its control of internet use in the country, with WhatsApp directly in the firing line.
In recent weeks, says the publication, a new cybersecurity law has seen internet freedom tightened drastically, in the lead-up to the Chinese government’s 19th Party Congress.
WhatsApp is Facebook’s last bastion in the Asian superpower, with its main site having been blocked back in 2009. Instagram followed in 2014.
The news only gets worse for Chinese citizens. The Times adds that China’s telecoms authority plans to ban all unauthorized virtual private network (VPN) services from 2018 onwards, effectively cutting China off from the rest of the world’s internet content.
While WhatsApp is not China’s largest messaging service – falling short to WeChat – it is used by millions, especially for international communication purposes.