WhatsApp users in China are experiencing trouble using the app to send photos, videos, and sometimes even texts. Security analysts confirmed that it was the Chinese government’s doing, according to The New York Times. This partial block of the Facebook-owned messaging app could mean an eventual full ban of the app in China, or the ban could be lifted later on.
If WhatsApp gets permabanned, it would join a list of banned sites that only grows longer by the day. In the past few months, outrageous stories of censorship have continued to pour out of the communist country, including China forcing three major websites to stop streaming video and audio content and auditing sites as if they were someone’s red-flagged tax returns.
The 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that convenes in the fall will only worsen matters, as the Chinese regime often follows a pattern of cracking down more severely just before an official event so that all looks good on camera and nothing controversial gets captured.
Full censorship of WhatsApp would aid Chinese native WeChat’s business, which is already the more popular option in China. Native businesses have often benefited from Chinese censorship. Google leaving China did wonders for competing search engine Baidu, and Weibo prospered by the lack of other microblogging sites like Twitter. Facebook has not responded to comment.