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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

Whatsapp messaging platform
Image: IANS

San Francisco, Sep 26 (IANS) Instant messaging service WhatsApp has been largely blocked in China, the media reported.

The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation, suggested on Monday night that Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp on September 23, reports CNN.

Public reports on Twitter indicated that WhatsApp, which is owned by the US-based social media giant Facebook, became inaccessible for some people on September 19.

Over the last few months, there were a number of WhatsApp disruptions in China.

However, WhatsApp has not made an official announcement on the development.

China has already blocked access to a number of internet companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google.

Some people access these services through virtual private networks (VPN), or with tools that disguise internet traffic to circumvent censorship. But the Chinese government has launched a crack down on VPNs this year.

According to Timothy Heath, senior international defence research analyst at the RAND Corporation, the Chinese government does not like that WhatsApp uses strong encryption.

“The government wants to monitor internet communications, and therefore it’s trying to steer its people to use technology that can be accessed and monitored by the government,” Heath told CNN.

Earlier this month, WeChat, a popular chat service in China, notified users of its policies to comply with government requests for information. (ians)

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Black Panther: The Most Tweeted-About Movie Ever

black panther
A scene from the blockbuster movie "Black Panther." VOA

The pop culture sensation Black Panther has set another record: most tweeted-about movie ever.

Twitter said Tuesday that Ryan Coogler’s box-office smash has been tweeted about more than 35 million times. That pushes it ahead of the previous record-holder, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The most recent Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi, ranks third.

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Over the weekend, Black Panther became the first film since 2009’s Avatar to top the box office in North America five straight weekends. It has grossed more than $607 million domestically and $1.2 billion worldwide. In the next week, it’s expected to pass The Avengers as the highest-grossing superhero film ever, not accounting for inflation.

Twitter said Black Panther had the most tweets in the U.S., followed by the United Kingdom and Thailand. VOA

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