WhatsApp announces new proxy support feature to bypass internet shutdowns

(Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc’s WhatsApp said on Thursday users of the messaging app will now be able to use proxy servers to access the service in countries where the app is blocked.

A proxy server is an intermediary between users and web services and acts as a web filter that allows netizens to circumvent restrictions and censorship.

WhatsApp said proxy support on the app is now officially available for users with the latest version.

Users in countries such as Iran and Syria have used virtual private network (VPN) services to navigate around internet censorship.

The messaging service said, “in case these shutdowns continue, we hope this solution helps people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.”

WhatsApp “will do anything” within its technical capacity to keep the service accessible and that it was not blocking Iranian phone numbers, the messaging service had said in September.

Iran restricted access to Meta’s Instagram and WhatsApp after unrest broke out in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran for “unsuitable attire”.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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