According to a recent statement by WhatsApp’s owner, Meta, the messaging app will now enable connections made through proxies. With this step, WhatsApp wants to enable users to maintain connections even when the service is restricted by regulators. According to the firm, connecting over a proxy would not affect WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption, and the content of messages wouldn’t be visible to the proxy provider.
According to a blog post on the WhatsApp website, “We’re giving customers the power to keep using WhatsApp even if their connection is banned.” By selecting a proxy, you can access servers run by volunteers and organizations dedicated to promoting free speech that are connected to WhatsApp.
The feature’s release comes just a few months after the Iranian authorities tried to restrict WhatsApp in the face of loud demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody.
When complaints of connectivity issues were received, WhatsApp said that it was “trying to keep our Iranian friends connected and would do anything within our technical capacity to keep our service up and functioning.”
“We are here to privately connect the world. We support people’s right to access private messaging. We don’t block Iranian phone numbers. “We are attempting to maintain connectivity for our Iranian friends, and we will take all reasonable measures to keep our service operational.”
For the first time, WhatsApp is now officially supporting connections made over a proxy. WhatsApp “isn’t designed to be used with proxy or VPN services,” according to this cached support page from earlier this week, and “we don’t support these configurations.” The disclaimer has been removed from the page as of this writing to reflect the official feature’s introduction.
According to WhatsApp, those who are using the most recent versions of its iOS or Android apps should already have access to proxy capabilities. It is accessible through the Settings menu’s Storage and Data section.