China is tightening the screws on Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, honing and employing cutting-edge surveillance technology to disrupt the messaging service as part of a longer-term crackdown on its online spheres.
The latest disruptions are affecting users intermittently across the world’s second largest economy, intensifying a blocking effort that began around July but has gotten more sophisticated in ensuing months, said Nadim Kobeissi, a cryptographer at Paris-based online security firm Symbolic Software.
This marks another setback for Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who’s expressed keen interest in expanding in the country but made little headway. The interference marks a step up from July, when local users began experiencing sporadic issues sending images and voice messages. China is tightening scrutiny over its internet arena in the run-up to the 19th Communist Party congress. It’s slapped fines on companies for failing to screen content, shuttered celebrity gossip sites, and punished chatgroup administrators on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat