(BEIJING, China.) Great Firewall Report: Encrypted messaging app Signal appeared to no longer be working without the use of a virtual private network (VPN) as of Tuesday morning (local time), users in the country said #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.16: Signal’s website has been banned since at least March 15, according to the GreatFire.org website, which tracks online censorship in China, although the app remains available on China’s App Store:

Encrypted messaging app Signal no longer working in China & has deployed a vast and sophisticated system to scrub the internet of dissent and prevent citizens from accessing international social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, in what is known as the “Great Firewall”.

Last month, China closed down the Clubhouse app in China, an audio platform that boomed briefly in the country for uncensored discussion of taboo topics.

Posted 5h ago

Hands hold a smartphone showing the Signal app logo
Signal was one of the few Western social media apps still available in China.(AFP: Ugo Padovani / Hans Lucas)

The app was already unavailable on third-party Android stores in China, where Google services are largely blocked. Neither Signal’s press team nor the Cyberspace Administration of China could immediately be reached for comment.Loading

On several occasions, the app had previously stopped working in China without VPN with no reason given, only for usage to resume.

More than half a million Signal downloads in China

Signal saw a surge in downloads worldwide after January 6 when WhatsApp updated its privacy terms, reserving the right to share user data, including location and phone number, with its parent company Facebook and units such as Instagram and Messenger.China’s Great Firewall GenerationChina’s Great Firewall has been censoring the internet for decades, and unlike Western teens many young Chinese have never heard of social media giants like Facebook and Twitter.Read more

The iOS version of Signal has been installed close to 510,000 times to date in China, said research firm Sensor Tower, which does not track Android downloads in the country. Google Play is unavailable in China.

Globally, the app has crossed 100 million installs across both Apple’s App Store and Google Play combined, Sensor Tower told AFP.

In January, people around the world flocked to apps such as Telegram and Signal after the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp tweaked its terms of service and sparked privacy concerns.

Signal saw a huge surge in demand, helped by a tweeted recommendation by tech billionaire Elon Musk.

Tencent’s all-in-one mobile app WeChat is China’s dominant messaging app, with its payment functions and other services, boasting more than a billion users globally:

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GreatFire Websites

FreeWeChat
No other website restores and republishes censored information from WeChat, China’s ubiquitous and most popular application. Our dataset grows larger each and every day and provides a real-time and accurate litmus test of the information that the Chinese authorities find most threatening.271,757FreeBrowser StartPage
We have directed Chinese internet users more than 13 million times to censored news stories about government corruption, politics, scandals and other “sensitive” information.99,055GreatFire Analyzer
No other website has accumulated as much data as we have around the blocking of websites and keywords. We make ourselves available to the media and have been quoted inthousands of news stories.10,505FreeWeibo
We mimic the look and feel of the real Weibo website, but instead of presenting a “harmonized” version of the popular social media network, we restore and integrate censored and deleted posts (currently numbering more than 300,000), so that Chinese can access a real-time view of the real discussions that are taking place online in China.7,656GitHub Wiki
Our GitHub wiki enables our users in China to download our apps directly without circumventing.6,277FreeBrowser.org
Promotes FreeBrowser.4,405GreatFire.org
This website.3,207Circumvention Central
No other website tests the speed and stability of free and paid circumvention tools from China. We provide an unbiased, data-driven view of what is working and what is not so that Chinese can make informed decisions when choosing a circumvention tool.3,204Apple Censorship
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About Us

We are an anonymous organization based in China. We launched our first project in 2011 in an effort to help bring transparency to online censorship in China. Now we focus on helping Chinese to freely access information. Apart from being widely discussed in most major mass media, GreatFire has also been the subject of a number of academic papers from various research institutions. FreeWeibo.com won the 2013Deutsche Welle “Best Of Online Activism” award in the “Best Innovation” category. In 2016, GreatFire won a Digital Activism fellowship from Index on Censorship.

AFP/Reuters

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Mar.16: 2021:

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#china, #encryption, #great-firwall, #signal, #vpn