The news

  • Russian authorities have blocked popular Chinese social media app WeChat. This follows the blocking of Line, vChat, and Blackberry Messenger by Russia a few days earlier.
  • WeChat’s owner Tencent says it is talking to the Russian authorities about the block under revised law stipulating various responsibilities for companies distributing information on the internet. Russia revised its data privacy law after the internet fanned anti-government protests.

Why it matters

  • This marks a spread of internet censorship. Emily Parker, a fellow at New America think tank, wrote recently that Russia is trying to copy China’s approach. Great Firewall architect Fang Binxing was invited to speak in Russia at a forum on internet safety, as the Russians wanted to learn Chinese techniques for controlling the web.
  • It’s a setback for the Shenzhen-based Tencent’s plans for international expansion, after clocking 889 million active users at the end of last year.

Source: South China Morning Post