China's Tencent 'deeply sorry' for Russia WeChat block

Mandy Carr
Мая 7, 2017

Russia has blocked access to Chinese social media app WeChat, developed by Tencent Holdings, for failing to give its contact details to the Russian communications watchdog.

It is not clear how many Russia-based users the app has.

The company said on Saturday it was "deeply sorry" that WeChat was blocked in Russia, adding Tencent was aware of the move and communicating with Russian authorities to resolve the issue.

Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has listed WeChat service among the prohibited websites in Russia, Russia's news agency TASS reported Friday.

Internet-based companies which have links in Russian Federation are required to register with the government.

Earlier, such messaging services as BlackBerry Messenger, Imo and Line, Vchat audiovisual chat and Zello push-to-talk application have been blacklisted for the same reason.

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Russian Federation is trying to copy China's approach in internet censorship, according to a recent article by Emily Parker, a fellow at New America, a non-profit think tank.

Access to the app was restricted on the basis of Article 15.4 of the law on information, information technologies and information security, according to Roskomnadzor.

The law prompted criticism from internet companies but entered into force in September 2015, with professional networking site LinkedIn blocked after it was found to have broken the law.

Tencent became China's most valuable firm in September, beating state-owned telecom behemoth China Mobile and almost reaching half of Apple's valuation.

Citing "internet sovereignty", the Chinese government has been aggressive in blocking overseas social media and news websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google.

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