Signal, the encrypted messaging app seemed to no longer be operating in China without the application of a virtual private network (VPN) on Tuesday morning, users in the nation said. China’s cyber officials have become more stringent in recent years, extending the scope of apps, media outlets, and social media sites outlawed in the nation. Signal’s website was also unavailable in China on Tuesday morning.
The app was still open on Apple’s China app store as of Tuesday morning, and the app and website seemed to be working regularly in Hong Kong. Signal’s press organization did not quickly react to a call for remark. The Cyberspace Administration of China could not instantly be reached for remark. The app was now unavailable on third-party Android stores in China, where Google services are chiefly blocked.
On various incidents, the app had earlier stopped running in China without a VPN for no reason provided, only for users to return. Signal witnessed a surge in downloads extensive after January 6 when WhatsApp renewed its privacy terms, keeping the power to share user data, including location and phone number, with its origin Facebook Inc and units such as Instagram and Messenger.
Signal had been downloaded approaching 510,000 times on iOS in China and has been downloaded 100 million times worldwide on the App Store and Google Play joined, according to data company Sensor Tower. Tencent’s all-in-one mobile app WeChat is China’s powerful messaging app, with its payment functions and other services, possesses more than a billion users globally.