WhatsApp's New Feature Will Help Users Avoid Internet Shutdowns Imposed By Authoritarian Governments
Meta Platforms Inc.'s (NASDAQ:META) WhatsApp has announced a new proxy support feature that would help users bypass internet shutdowns.
What Happened: WhatsApp head Will Cathcart announced the new proxy support — a feature that would help users restore access when a connection to the app is blocked.
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If WhatsApp is blocked in your country, you can use a proxy to stay connected and chat with friends and family 📲— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 5, 2023
When connecting to WhatsApp via proxy, personal messages will remain protected by end-to-end encryption 🔒
Learn to access a proxy here: https://t.co/WleKzNOdKX
Proxy support enables users to connect to WhatsApp via servers established by volunteers and organizations worldwide, the company stated in a blog post.
In addition, the platform said that connecting through proxy won't hamper users' privacy and security as personal messages will be protected by end-to-end encryption — it will not be visible to the proxy servers or the company.
Why It's Important: WhatsApp's latest development was influenced by the months-long Iran internet shutdown.
Cathcart tweeted that while many people receive happy new texts from loved ones on social media, individuals in Iran and other parts of the world are denied the right to communicate "freely and privately."
Happy New Year!— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) January 5, 2023
While many of us celebrated by texting our loved ones on WA, there are millions of people in Iran and elsewhere who continue to be denied the right to communicate freely and privately.
So today we’re making it easier for anyone to connect to WA using a proxy. pic.twitter.com/qbx9FAqXP2
The platform aims to ensure that if such internet shutdowns continue and people are stopped from accessing WhatsApp freely, the proxy support feature could help them have a "secure and reliable communication" channel.