WhatsApp users in China are experiencing difficulties in sending messages, photos and videos to their contacts as the Chinese government is tightening its grip over the internet.
According to a report in the New York Times, the services of the Facebook-owned messaging app have been disrupted by the Chinese government’s internet filters, following the new cyber security law implemented last month.
Although the service has currently only been disrupted and being considered partially blocked, it’s being speculated that this might lead to a complete and permanent ban on WhatsApp in China.
China already has a long list of websites that have been banned and if WhatsApp is banned, WeChat — which is already a more popular messaging alternative in the country — will have even more room for growth.
The WhatsApp ban adds to the internet crackdown of 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.
Popular social networking services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and many more are already banned by the Great Firewall of China and WhatsApp might soon join the list.
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.