You should carefully prepare for a trip to another country - put your documents in order, pack your things. And also find out if this country does not prohibit the use of any popular applications.
Did you know that some countries restrict popular instant messengers? It may happen that the application you cannot live without stops working abroad. WhatsApp is the most popular communication service. Its users live in 190 countries, and their number exceeds 6 billion (more than half of the world's population!). Both personal and business communications go through WhatsApp. And all because the application allows you to transfer information absolutely free of charge in any convenient way - using text, audio, video, or a document of any format.
Instant correspondence via the Internet is easy and convenient. Despite this, in some countries, instant messaging services are severely restricted in their rights. WhatsApp or some of its features are not available in six states. Want to know which ones and why? We'll tell you.
The Chinese government blocked WhatsApp in 2017 during a period of political activity. Until today, the ban on its use remains. The official comments say the messenger is banned due to strong encryption features that limit the government's ability to control user-generated content. The Chinese authorities considered that WhatsApp could send inaccurate facts, defamatory information, and political fakes. But is there another point of view? According to some reports, the Chinese government has censored WhatsApp to promote its local counterpart, WeChat.
United Arab Emirates
When you arrive in the UAE, you will have to forget about the possibility of making video calls or exchanging voice messages via WhatsApp. This is due to the fact that the heads of the United Arab Emirates considered WhatsApp a competitor to local telecommunications services. In other words, the Emirates has come up with a sophisticated way to increase income by forcing its citizens and tourists to use local connections.
Together with WhatsApp, other messengers, including Viber and Telegram, were also censored by Iran. For what? It is not known exactly. According to unofficial sources, the ban is related to political and security reasons.
And again, politics is the very reason why the usual messenger cannot be used normally on the territory of another Middle Eastern state. According to the Syrian government, WhatsApp's unbreakable end-to-end encryption can be used by enemies of the state for conspiracies and therefore, should be banned.
WhatsApp services are not available in North Korea either. End-to-end encryption prevents government agencies from controlling personal communications. On the one hand, this is proof of how well WhatsApp's privacy protection works. On the other hand, it is a great inconvenience for tourists and traveling businessmen.
The island state of Cuba is also on the list of countries that restrict WhatsApp and other communication programs. Surprisingly, this time it's not a matter of politics. Connected chat platforms have been curtailed due to the extremely high cost of the Internet, with monthly Internet costs exceeding the average Cuban salary. Only a select few (politicians, journalists, and some students) can use the Internet and communication applications such as WhatsApp.
If you have plans to visit one of the countries listed above, it is worthwhile to think in advance about alternative ways of communication during the trip. For those who, for whatever reason, cannot refuse WhatsApp, there is another option: set up a VPN on a smartphone or laptop. It will help you bypass regional restrictions and continue communication to the fullest.