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Facebook’s WhatsApp Blocked in China Amid Censorship Push

  • WhatsApp is said to not be responsible for the blockage
  • Chinese government has recently cracked down on messaging apps

Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service has been partially blocked in China, following a censorship crackdown by the government.

Multiple WhatsApp users in China reported experiencing intermittent outages from Monday night Beijing time. By Tuesday morning, users had taken to social networks such as Twitter to report that photos as well as audio clips -- a favored format in the country -- were not being delivered.

WhatsApp is not responsible for the blockage, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company declined to comment.

“The Chinese authorities want to be able to monitor all communication on the internet,” said Charlie Smith, a co-founder of GreatFire.org, which tracks blockages. Smith uses a pseudonym for fear of reprisals by Chinese authorities. “By blocking WhatsApp, they limit the choices that Chinese have to send private and encrypted communications and force more and more users to adopt WeChat as their messaging app.”

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