The encrypted messaging service provided by Signal does not work in China, unless the user relies on a virtual private network (VPN) with the location defined for another territory. The blockade was imposed on Tuesday morning (16).
As an alternative to the WhatsApp platform services, Signal stands out for its strong respect for user privacy, being the app that collects less information from those who use it. Now, according to the Reuters agency, it has ceased to function in China.
Signal comes up against the strong state control applied in China
China’s cybersecurity authority forces have tightened their grip on social media, applications of the most varied type and genre, as well as all news publications. As a result, apps are increasingly banned in China.
The latest victim of this social control effort is the Signal platform, whose website and mobile application is no longer accessible on Tuesday morning. So far the application is still available on the Apple App Store. On the other hand, in the autonomous territory of Hong Kong, both the application and the website continue to operate within normal limits.
The Reuters agency tried to contact Signal’s public relations team, but was unsuccessful. The same outcome was the attempt to contact the Chinese Cyberspace Administration.
We underline that Google’s services are blocked in China. Even so, the application came to be available through several application and content stores, being gradually blocked in recent months.
Signal recorded exponential growth as an alternative to WhatsApp
Note that this break in the service can be attributed to Signal’s “growth pains”. In fact, it would not be the first time that the service would stop operating in China, without VPN, temporarily, only to return to full operation later.
Forcing users to accept new terms and conditions motivated the search for alternatives such as Telegram and Signal. Now, WhatsApp has postponed the entry into force of these changes until May 15, the date on which they will take effect.
However, Signal has established itself as the best alternative for those looking for a solution that respects their privacy. Thus, Signal would be downloaded approximately 510 000 times on iOS mobile devices (iPhone) in China.
Worldwide Signal would be downloaded more than 100 million times through Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, according to data provided by Sensor Tower.
The dominant instant communications platform in China is WeChat, developed by Tencent.
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