Russia Bans Chinese Chat App WeChat

WeChat app icon on a smartphone display

                                                          Russia Bans Chinese Chat App WeChat

The Chinese internet authorities are famous for the fact that they are banning every foreign tech company from entering the country’s market. They supposedly want to promote “internet sovereignty”. Now, it seems like the tables have turned. Russia’s internet regulator has recently banned the popular Chinese chat app called WeChat. They included the app into a list of services they decided to forbid in Russia. The information became public after some users reported that they could no longer use the app properly.

A ban on WeChat

According to a spokesperson for Roskomnadzor, the Russian internet regulator, they decided to block the app because it refused to provide contact details to the register. Still, some are saying that the true cause pf this action is completely different. The ban happened because of a 2014 Russian law which requires each foreign internet company to store the data of Russian people on servers inside the country. China has this policy too.

It is worth noting that few are the companies that have respected this law. For example, Facebook and Google function normally in Russia as in any other country. Not many of them have faced consequences because of their refusal to go by this rule. However, LinkedIn was one of the websites that had serious trouble because of this law. In 2016, the Russian authorities blocked access to it. It was a huge loss for the company which, at the time, had about 6 million users in Russia. Back in March, Roskomnadzor announced that LinkedIn had no intention on continuing to be active on the Russian market. Just last week, it also announced that it blocked access to other popular apps, including Blackberry Messenger and Japan’s Line.

China’s strict rule

It is somewhat ironic because usually, China is the one imposing tough regulations on the foreign companies. For example, China has blocked the access to Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter. In Russia, they function normally. Over the years, the Chinese authorities have also blocked some other very popular apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and even some news outlets like The New York Times. We will see if the decision will be permanent or if it is only something temporary.

Image source: flickr

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