Becoming increasingly popular following the controversy that arose after Facebook became interested in WhatsApp users’ data, rival Signal suddenly became a threat to authoritarian governments, alarmed by the seemingly impenetrable security of this platform.
Even though it is not the most popular, Signal is one of the most secure messaging applications available on Android. As it attracts new users, Signal is increasingly becoming a threat to censorship in many parts of the world. Predictably, the communist regime in Beijing is the first to resort to drastic measures.
Asked if the application was banned in the country, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “China’s Internet is open and the Chinese government manages Internet-related business in accordance with the law.”
Meanwhile, the official website of the application has become inaccessible throughout mainland China, and those who managed to install it on their mobile phone find that they can only connect via a VPN connection.
The move comes just a month after Chinese authorities blocked access to the Clubhouse social network in an attempt to prevent Chinese citizens from discussing controversial topics, such as the treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Similar to Clubhouse, Signal attracted the attention of local authorities only after attracting a substantial number of users connecting from China. According to the analysis company Sensor Tower, Signal has been installed more than 510,000 times in China and has recently exceeded 100 million downloads in Google Play and the App Store worldwide.
The most popular messaging app in China is Tencent’s WeChat. WhatsApp and Telegram, which are among the most popular messaging applications, were already banned in the country.