Chinese authorities are said to have blocked Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram to limit access to news as pro-democracy protestors hit the streets. The photo sharing platform has been blocked in mainland China as protestors engage police in Hong Kong.
The news came after several Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram users posted photos and videos of the protests with other showing police firing teargas at the protestors.
Websites www.blockedinchina.net and Greatfire.org confirmed that Instagram was indeed blocked. Greatfire.org is a unit that monitors online restrictions. Blockedinchina.net reported that the service had also been blocked in Beijing and Shenzhen.
“I post an image or two in the morning and 3-4 during the day but now it’s blocked,” wrote Frank Yu, the chief executive of Beijing-based online gaming company Kwestr in an e-mail. “I got two off though this morning.”
Some regular users of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram have reported trying to post photos to no avail. However, since the service is only blocked in mainland China, it means that those in Hong Kong can post images of the protest and users in other countries can view them.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Instagram isn’t the first one to be blocked in mainland China as some others have been highly restricted or blocked altogether. WeChat, another photo sharing service, is currently tightly controlled in mainland China. Other social media platforms that have been either blocked or tightly restricted include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
On Sunday, the phrase “Occupy Central” was blocked on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.
The protests were started off by students about a week ago. The students have been calling for the Beijing leadership to provide genuine democratic reforms to Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous city.
The protests are soiling the image of Hong Kong, which has been a safe and stable financial hub of the region. This also compromises President Xi Jinping’s reputation within the international circles.
This article has been written by victor Ochieng.