Signal, the encrypted messaging software that came to fame in the aftermath of WhatsApp’s updated terms of operation, seems to have been banned in China on Tuesday.
Users of the free software, which has grown in popularity worldwide as a result of growing privacy issues, were unable to use it without a virtual private network (VPN).
In what is considered the “Great Firewall,” China has deployed a massive and complex infrastructure to rid the internet of opposition and block people from reaching foreign social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
According to the GreatFire.org website, which monitors internet censorship in China, Signal’s website has been blocked since at least March 15, but the software is still accessible on China’s App Store.
Signal did not react immediately to an AFP request for clarification.
According to Sensor Tower, which does not monitor Android downloads in China, the iOS edition of Signal has been mounted nearly 510,000 times to date. In China, Google Play is not open.
According to Sensor Tower, the software has over 100 million downloads worldwide in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
People all over the world flocked to applications like Telegram and Signal in January after the Facebook-owned messaging application WhatsApp updated its terms of service, causing privacy issues.
Signal saw a significant increase in demand as a result of a tweet endorsement by software entrepreneur Musk.
Signal has recently stopped operating without a VPN, but support has been reinstated.
Martin Johnson, the co-founder of GreatFire.org, informs AFP that the software was temporarily inaccessible in the App Store in 2019.
Last month, China shut down the Clubhouse software, an audio forum that briefly exploded in the nation for uncensored discussion of taboo topics.