WhatsApp will now allow its users to bypass internet censorship and maintain access to the platform even if their connection is blocked or disrupted.
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For local authorities or countries that censor or block people from direct access to whatsapp, choosing a proxy server will enable free and secure connection to WhatsApp through servers set up by volunteers and organisations.
Connecting via proxy also maintains the high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp provides. Users’ messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption — ensuring they stay between the sender and the receiver and are not visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp, or Meta, WhatsApp highlighted in the blog.
The option is now available in the settings menu for everyone running the latest version of WhatsApp.
To find a proxy, users can search through social media or search engines for trusted sources that have created a proxy.
To Connect to a proxy, users have to go to the Chats tab.
In the Chats tab, they can tap More options and go to Settings. They can then tap Storage and Data and go to Proxy. Next , they have to tap Use Proxy, tap Set Proxy and enter the proxy address and save.
A check mark will show if the connection is successful.
If users are still unable to send or receive WhatsApp messages using a proxy, that proxy may have been blocked. One can then long press the blocked proxy address to delete it, then enter a new proxy address to try again.
Several people across the world continue to be restricted from reaching their loved ones during internet shutdowns.
“When a state shuts down the internet, both people and economies suffer. The costs to jobs, education, health and political participation virtually always exceed any hoped for benefit,” Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a release in June last year.
One such instance is Iran cutting off the country’s internet and access to Instagram and WhatsApp in September last year.
The death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police fuelled massive protests across the country. The protestors flooded social media with videos of anti-government demonstrations and violent altercations with Iran’s police.
Disruptions like this deny people’s human rights and cut people off from receiving urgent help, WhatsApp said in the blog.