WhatsApp announced on Thursday that it is bringing proxy support to the popular encrypted messaging service. Users around the world will be able to continue using WhatsApp even if their connection to the company’s servers is blocked or disrupted. Using a proxy allows users to connect to WhatsApp via servers set up by volunteers and organisations all over the world who are dedicated to allowing people to communicate freely.
According to WhatsApp, connecting via proxy retains the same level of privacy and security as the app, and personal messages are still secured by end-to-end encryption.
The news comes after Iran’s local government blocked access to WhatsApp and Instagram in 2022 after protesters used both platforms to disseminate information about violations of human rights in the country. WhatsApp says it is working to ensure that “these internet shutdowns never occur.”
“Our wish for 2023 is that these internet shutdowns never occur,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post. “Disruptions like we’ve seen in Iran for months on end deny people’s human rights and cut people off from receiving urgent help. Though in case these shutdowns continue, we hope this solution helps people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.”
WhatsApp has also made available a guide for users interested in creating their own proxy server for friends and family. Users will be able to find the new option by going into the Storage and Date settings within WhatsApp. Proxy server support is now being rolled out for iPhone and Android users, so make sure you have the latest version of WhatsApp installed. The company claims that messages will not be viewable to anyone in the middle, including proxy servers, WhatsApp, and parent firm Meta.
For all users who have installed the most recent version of the app, the new option is available in the settings menu. According to WhatsApp, if one has internet access, one can browse social media or search engines for reliable sources that have set up a proxy. To link to a proxy, one can go to WhatsApp settings, tap Storage and Data and then select Proxy. Then, tap Use Proxy,fill in the proxy address, and select Save to connect to the service.
A checkmark will appear if the connection is successful. If one is still unable to send or receive WhatsApp messages while using a proxy, it is possible that the proxy has been blocked. One can try again with a different proxy address in this scenario. WhatsApp says that using a third-party proxy will reveal the user’s IP address to the proxy provider.
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