Russia has blocked China’s most popular social messaging app WeChat, saying its internet service operator failed to register certain laws with the related government bodies in the country, according to information posted on the regulator’s website on Friday.
China’s WeChat, the popular social media app developed by Shenzhen-based company, Tencent Holdings. 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. WeChat, which had nearly 900 million users worldwide by the end of 2016, was not properly registered with Russian regulators, Tencent said. WeChat is the latest and most popular chat and messaging platform to be blocked by Moscow’s communications and media regulator.
“We’re experiencing a block and we’re deeply sorry,” a company official said on a Tencent microblog.
Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has listed WeChat service among the prohibited websites in Russia, Russia’s news agency TASS reported Friday. Access to the WeChat app was restricted on the basis of Article 15.4 of the law on information, information technologies and information security, according to Roskomnadzor. According to Russia’s regulation on Internet management, online service providers must have to register with related government bodies in the country, while WeChat had a different understanding over the issue.
Vadim Ampelonsky, spokesman of Russian telecommunication watchdog Roskomnadzor, said on Friday: “WeChat did not provide the contact information necessary for registration with authorities”, Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Roskomnadzor, officially known as the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, blocked BlackBerry Messenger, Line and Vchat but did not provide details.