Russia blocks Chinese social media app WeChat

Guillermo Lane
May 7, 2017

According to the Global Times, WeChat officials said Friday it feels sorry the app was blocked in Russia, and that the company is communicating with Russian authorities on this issue.

Roskomnadzor, more formally known as (warning: it's another mouthful) the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, reportedly took WeChat offline in the country on May 4.

Tencent says it "had a different understanding" of the issue.

WeChat is available in a vast majority of countries around the world.

The irony is all the richer because China has itself blocked messaging apps, social media services and websites including Facebook, Twitter and Google - in many cases for similar reasons, namely refusal to comply with the authoritarian government's demand that they block content on certain topics and hand over users' personal information.

WeChat is the most popular messenger in China.

Chinese internet giant Tencent said Saturday its messaging app WeChat had been blocked in Russian Federation, adding it was in touch with authorities to resolve the issue.

Previous sites that have been blocked by Article 15.4 include messenger BlackBerry, Imo, Line, Vchat video chat and online radio Zello, according to a report by RBC TV.

Last year, Russia blocked USA social networking site LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for violating a law that requires data on Russian citizens to be stored on Russian servers.

Roskomnadzor also said on its website that the authorities blocked the WeChat app because it failed to discharge various responsibilities the law imposes on organisers of information distribution on the internet.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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