WhatsApp has launched a new feature that aims to help users bypass internet blocks


WhatsApp has launched a new feature that aims to help users bypass internet blocks in countries where the messaging service is censored.

When access to WhatsApp is restricted, authorities typically block access to the app’s servers, preventing users from sending or receiving messages. To address this, WhatsApp is introducing a feature that allows users to manually choose a proxy server, which will automatically relay data to WhatsApp’s servers. These proxy servers have different addresses to those of WhatsApp, making them harder to identify and block for censors.

This feature is believed to have been created primarily for Iranian users of the app, which, along with Instagram (both owned by Facebook), has been blocked in the country since the start of anti-government protests in late 2022. WhatsApp specifically mentions Iran in its statement, highlighting the impact of disrupted access on human rights and the ability to receive urgent help.

The new feature will maintain the high level of privacy and security offered by WhatsApp, with messages remaining encrypted end-to-end. This means that messages will remain private between the people communicating and will not be visible to proxy servers or anyone else.

The introduction of this feature underlines WhatsApp’s commitment to ensuring that users can continue to communicate freely and securely, even in countries where internet censorship is prevalent. By putting the power in users’ hands to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted, the company is standing up for the right to free and open communication.

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