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China blocks messaging app Signal

2021-03-16 18:24 by
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Signal, an encrypted messaging app that competes with the likes of Facebook Inc.'s WhatsApp, appears to have been blocked in China, the latest move by Beijing to crack down on social media platforms.

Signal users in China reported issues sending or receiving messages on Monday night, according to the Journal. The issues reportedly went away when they used a virtual private network, or VPN, to mask their location and get around China's filters. If blocked, Signal would join the likes of other messaging and social media services including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter and Clubhouse, which are banned in the country.

Signal has been a popular tool among political dissidents and journalists seeking a communication method that minimizes the risk of messages being intercepted by government censors and bad actors. In particular, the app has gained traction among China's mainly Muslim Uyghur diaspora.

The iOS version of Signal has been installed close to 510,000 times to date in China, said research firm Sensor Tower, which does not track Android downloads in the country. Google Play is unavailable in China. Globally, the app has crossed 100 million installs across both Apple's App Store and Google Play combined, Sensor Tower told AFP.

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