Clubhouse Gets Blocked in China-news

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(Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Well, Clubhouse won’t be going viral in China. The country blocked the social media app on Monday, cutting off local users from an unfiltered source of news and discussion. 

The blockade occurred around 7 p.m. Beijing time, when users in the country began reporting connection errors on the Clubhouse app. 

“The Clubhouse website is still accessible, but the resources that the app needs to access in order to function are blocked,” wrote GreatFire.org, a site that monitors China’s online censorship. 

The ban is no surprise; China has one of the world’s most notorious online censorship systems. It currently prevents local users from accessing many foreign websites, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, in an effort to stamp out anti-government dissent. (To get around the censorship, users have to resort to VPNs.)

Prior to the blocking, Chinese interest in Clubhouse was gaining some steam. Currently, the audio-only social networking app is exclusive to Apple’s iOS, and people can only sign up after receiving an invite from an existing user. Nevertheless, Reuters reported last week that local users were flocking to Clubhouse, since it was a rare social network that didn’t comply with China’s strict online censorship rules.

Some of the conversations on Clubhouse also covered controversial topics the government normally tries to silence, including talks on Taiwan’s independence and China’s new security law in Hong Kong. 

According to Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the blocking is a loss to both local users and the Chinese community worldwide. The app’s audio-only format helped facilitate productive conversations on the most heated topics. “What stood out to me: our deliberate efforts to really listen to and understand each other,” he tweeted.

Local Chinese users will still have access to other social networking apps in the country. However, the apps all work with the Chinese government to censor content and even spy on users.


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