There had been so many times that Chinese government blocked the most popular messaging service in the country. The previous bans were imposed for few days and got lifted. Recently the service has been blocked again and there is no indication when the ban will be lifted, The New York Times reports.
The shutdown of the app is maybe because of the Communist Party’s congress that is expected to be held in Beijing next month. The blocking of WhatsApp is because of its strong encryption features which do not allow authorities to get their hands on the users’ information. The encryption features of WhatsApp are lacked by all the other messaging services such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime. The imposing of a ban on WhatsApp by the Chinese government is to show to the users in the country that they cannot rely on the service for communication permanently. The Chinese government has a strong hold and can block the service anytime which would disrupt many businesses that communicate with their customers through WhatsApp.
In the mainland China, Facebook has long been banned by the Chinese authorities. However, Facebook found a way for operating in the country by introducing a Chinese version of its photo-sharing app named as Colorful Balloons. Facebook has been able to maintain a strong user growth in all parts of the world except in China. The Chinese market is still an untapped market for Facebook but holds a lot of opportunities for the social media platform to flourish. But the recent ban on WhatsApp shows that Facebook’s relationship with China is not strengthening and the platform might be forced to cooperate with Chinese authorities or to stay vulnerable to the government’s hostility.