Signal becomes unavailable to Chinese users

The encrypted app, Signal, has been unavailable in mainland China Tuesday Morning.

According to news from TechCrunch and Reuters, Signal, one of the few Western social media apps available in China, has gone silent.

Since early Tuesday morning, the encrypted software, which is commonly used by reporters and those who need total secrecy, has been inaccessible in mainland China.

Meanwhile, on March 15th, the website of Signal was blocked across the country.

The signal is still available for free on Apple’s App Store in China, according to TechCrunch, indicating that the government hasn’t asked Apple to delete it and that it can still be accessed via a virtual private network.

The app has been downloaded over 500,000 times in China, which is a small amount relative to the 1.1 billion users of WeChat, China’s most common messaging app. But, considering China’s tight internet rules, this is still a large number.

Such prominent social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have also been banned by the government for years.

According to Reuters, the software has previously stopped operating in China without a VPN until resuming service, but it’s unclear if the latest interruption will be permanent.

Signal’s popularity has soared recently around the world, particularly after WhatsApp’s terms were changed to enable parent company Facebook to share user data.

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