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WhatsApp's New Feature Will Help Users Avoid Internet Shutdowns Imposed By Authoritarian Governments

Benzinga · 01/06/2023 09:34

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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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."

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. 

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