Netizens in China have reporter disruptions in service by Whatsapp, leading to the scare that the Facebook-owned chat app may be on its way to being entirely blocked. Several users have reported that the app is no longer properly accessible unless they use a virtual private network to send their internet traffic outside the country and around its great firewall, reports the Independent. Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had no information on the issue when asked by reporters on Tuesday.
WhatsApp is known for helping those seeking a greater degree of privacy from government snooping than domestic app WeChat, which closely monitored and filtered. The development comes at a politically charged time in China, as while Chinese censors have boosted efforts to eradicate all mention of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died Thursday in government custody. Besides blocking Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over possible threat to national security, Chinese authorities are now turning their focus to encrypted messaging apps.