China blocks WhatsApp, security experts confirmed to The New York Times
China may have recently upgraded its firewall to detect and blocks the Noise Socket protocol. This is what WhatsApp uses to send texts. In addition to already blocking the HTTPS/TLS that WhatsApp uses to send photos and videos.
Over the past few months, WhatsApp has experienced brief disruptions to service, with users unable to send video chats or photos. Now, even text messages are completely blocked.
The move is a blow to Facebook, which has been banned in China since 2009 and owns WhatsApp. Moreover, the heightened censorship coincides with the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. WhatsApp may have been a target because the app offers end-to-end encryption, which keeps users’ messages private.
In contrast, other domestic Chinese apps like WeChat provide all users’ personal data to the Chinese government. WeChat, which already has 963 million active users, stands to benefit from one of its last foreign competitors being pushed out of the market. WhatsApp refused to comment.