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Chinese internet service providers started blocking access to WhatsApp.

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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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Twitter Plans to Develop an Open and Decentralized Standard for Social Media

"New technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there," Dorsey added

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Business, Twitter, Invest, Investment, Start-up, Kochi
A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that his company was funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media that would help better control abusive and misleading information on its platform.

The goal is to allow Twitter to access and contribute to a much larger corpus of public conversation, “focus our efforts on building open recommendation algorithms which promote healthy conversation, and will force us to be far more innovative than in the past”, Dorsey said in a tweet thread on Wednesday.

The project is called Bluesky and Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal will hire the team for the project.

“There are many challenges to make this work that Twitter would feel right becoming a client of this standard.

“Which is why the work must be done transparently in the open, not owned by any single private corporation, furthering the open & decentralized principles of the internet,” Dorsey said.

TWitter
The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

Decentralized social networks already exist like Mastodon which is based on an open-source networking protocol called ActivityPub.

Dorsey said the team would not only develop a decentralized standard for social media but also build open community around it, inclusive of companies and organisations, researchers and civil society leaders.

Also Read: Facebook Loses its Place in Glassdoor’s ‘Best Places to Work’ List

“This isn’t going to happen overnight. It will take many years to develop a sound, scalable, and usable decentralized standard for social media that paves the path to solving the challenges listed above.

“New technologies have emerged to make a decentralized approach more viable. Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there,” Dorsey added. (IANS)