WhatsApp helps users avoid government repression

WhatsApp helps users avoid government repression

WhatsApp helps users avoid government repression

WhatsApp announced(Opens in a new window) the launch of proxy support, which allows users to continue using the service even if their connection has been blocked or disrupted by entities such as authoritarian governments.

The Proxy effectively acts as an intermediary between you and WhatsApp. The move comes after the Iranian regime cut off access to a popular messaging app in a bid to stop protests against Masha Amini.(Opens in a new window)A 22-year-old who died after being detained by the national morality police.

In a blog post, WhatsApp referred to Iran’s government internet shutdowns and said it hoped the proxy server would “help people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.”

WhatsApp said the proxies are set up by volunteers and organizations that are “dedicated to helping people communicate freely.” Anyone interested in setting up a proxy server can see the steps to follow to do so here(Opens in a new window).

Users can find proxies by searching social media or search engines for “trusted sources” that set up the proxy, WhatsApp added. Once found, users need to enter the server name in the app.

The messaging app stressed that users connected to the proxy server will continue to use end-to-end encryption of messages, meaning WhatsApp, its owner Meta, or owners of the proxy servers cannot read messages sent.

WhatsApp users can enable the proxy by visiting the settings menu in the latest version of the app. The instructions for Android and iOS users are slightly different; you can find the guide here(Opens in a new window).

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a WhatsApp spokesperson said(Opens in a new window) Ars Technica that it “began to put up [proxy] in the app in the last few months of last year” and that she “regularly consults” with human rights organizations on “issues of freedom of expression and privacy”, adding that she did so during the development of the proxy feature.

According to independent VPN review site Top10VPN(Opens in a new window)Social media lockdowns in 23 countries totaled 26,865 hours last year, and 710 million people worldwide were affected by social media shutdown last year.

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