Trouble has been brewing in China since last month with several foreign internet firms experiencing accessibility issues in the country, including chat apps Line and Kakao Talk. Line’s service in Mainland China (provided in conjunction with a local operator under the name of Lianwo) has been plagued by a connection issue since July 1, while certain functions on Kakao Talk can’t be used.
More light is now being shed on the reason behind this — Reuters reports that South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said that China confirmed it had blocked a few foreign messaging apps through which “terrorism-related information” was circulating. The Chinese government informed South Korea that these included plotting attacks or spreading know-how about making bombs, the ministry said.
Other than Line and Kakao Talk, apps including Didi, Talk Box and Vower were also blocked, according to Reuters. The report noted that the ministry also said it would continue negotiations with Chinese authorities to ensure such service disruptions ended soon.
It is perhaps really weird though how the main messaging app in China, Weixin (the sibling of WeChat), still gets to operate normally despite also being a channel where such terrorism-related information could be sent through. However, this is likely because Chinese internet giant Tencent has to toe the line and thus regularly ‘cleans up’ messages that could get it into trouble with the government.