China’s Net filters disrupt WhatsApp
SHANGHAI — The last of Facebook’s major products that still worked in China was disrupted Tuesday by the government, which is tightening its controls over the Internet.
WhatsApp, a messaging app used across the globe, was partly disrupted by Chinese filters, leaving many unable to send videos and photos and some also unable to send text-based messages.
The disruption of WhatsApp was the latest in a line of big digital services running up against China’s “Great Firewall,” the country’s system of Internet filters and controls. In recent weeks, the government has appeared to increase its grip, an online crackdown fed by politically sensitive news, important upcoming events, and a new cybersecurity law that went into effect last month.
Sites hosting popular foreign television shows have had videos taken down, and tools used to skirt the censors have faced more frequent disruptions. In an article, the mouthpiece of the country’s Communist Party scolded the Chinese Internet company Tencent over a popular mobile video game, calling it too addictive.
WhatsApp, which had generally avoided major disruptions in China despite the full block of Facebook and Instagram, appears to have become a victim of those circumstances.
The blocks against WhatsApp originated with the government, according to a person familiar with the situation who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the record about the disruption. Security experts also verified that the partial disruption in WhatsApp started with China’s Internet filters.