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China appears to be blocking Signal messaging app, report says

The encrypted messaging app may be the latest platform to be banned.

Privacy and security with Signal and WhatsApp Messaging
James Martin/CNET

Popular encrypted social media app Signal has become "unusable" for some in China, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, suggesting that the app may have been blocked in the world's most populous country. 

Signal users in China reported issues sending or receiving messages on Monday night, according to the Journal. The issues reportedly went away when they used a virtual private network, or VPN, to mask their location and get around China's filters. If blocked, Signal would join the likes of other messaging and social media services including Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter and Clubhouse, which are banned in the country.  

If China has banned Signal, it would be the second country to do so in recent months. In late January the messaging app posted on Twitter that it was being blocked in Iran after rising to the top of the Google Play Store in the country. The company later posted directions on its blog for setting up a TLS proxy to bypass Iranian censors. 

Signal didn't respond to CNET's request for comment. 

The Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, pointed to comments Tuesday from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who said he was not aware of Signal being blocked in China.