China has long held a policy of blocking Western-based social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. It does this in order to control what gets shared online, and to benefit indigenous services like Weibo, Meipai, and Nice.
One website that has miraculously avoided the Great Firewall ban-hammer is Pinterest, which isn’t really known for its radical political discourse, but rather as a great place to get cooking and wedding inspiration from.
But according to a report from TechCrunch, this is no longer the case, and the site is now blocked to all 721 million Chinese internet users.
Per TechCrunch, the Chinese censorship watchdog GreatFire has been unable to reach Pinterest from within the country for seven days. While the Great Firewall is notoriously glitchy and error-prone, it seems that this isn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate decision made by China’s authorities.
This is somewhat puzzling. TechCrunch’s Jon Russell believes that the timing has something to do with the fact that the current meeting of the ruling classes – called the Two Sessions – is currently taking place in Beijing, and the government isn’t leaving anything to chance.
Chinese consumers devastated by the blocking of Pinterest can take solace in the fact that there are several local clones available, because of course there are.