As China clamps down, nations mull stricter cryptocurrency regulationChina has officially blocked all access to WhatsApp within its borders, robbing Facebook of its last presence in the country.
Mark Zuckerberg won’t be a happy camper today; China has officially followed through on its decision to block all access to WhatsApp, and now the service has been rendered unusable within the country’s borders.
The decision is an unsurprising one; for years, China has periodically -and, at times, permanently – blocked access to many Western social media services. Facebook and Google have both suffered censorship and bans in the past, and now, considering WhatsApp’s departure, Facebook’s last remaining service in the country has faded into the ether.
The move comes ahead of a major Communist Party gathering in the nation, which is expected to occur next month in October. Smaller strokes at censorship have seen WhatsApp’s image, video, and voice chat services disabled – leaving consumers to instead rely on text-based messaging.
Chinese consumers can – of course – turn to WeChat; China’s home-grown messaging service that has now expanded into global operation. WeChat, however, marks one significant difference from other chat apps in that it has publicly announced it will comply with any and all government-level requests and hand over the credentials of its user at will.
Though China acquiesced to demands to open its online data services and telecoms operations to international competition when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the nation retains its restrictions on media; meaning that while it cannot altogether dismantle Western services within its borders, it has the authority to control – or deny – access to them.
WhatsApp may once again be accessible in China, following the Communist Party’s October 18th meeting, or could be blocked for the foreseeable future.
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