WhatsApp, owned by Meta, has introduced an upgrade to its proxy feature, expanding the possibilities for sharing content beyond just text messages. This development is a significant step towards countering internet censorship and promoting freedom of expression.
Now, users can enjoy the ability to send and receive a variety of content in their conversations, including images, voice notes, files, stickers, and GIFs. This enhancement aims to make communication more dynamic and engaging, as reported by The Hacker News and BBC Persian.
The update brings other improvements as well, such as simplified setup steps for easier configuration. Additionally, WhatsApp has introduced shareable links that enable users to effortlessly share valid proxy addresses with their contacts. These addresses allow for automatic installation and smooth access to the platform.
WhatsApp’s support for proxy servers, introduced earlier this year, empowers users to bypass government-imposed censorship and internet shutdowns. It provides an indirect means of accessing WhatsApp even in restricted environments.
To facilitate the setup of proxy servers, WhatsApp has made available a reference implementation. Users can set up a proxy server with ports 80, 443, or 5222 and associate it with a domain name pointing to the server’s IP address.
In explaining the concept, WhatsApp states that a proxy server acts as a gateway between the app and external servers. To find trusted proxy addresses, users can search for verified accounts on social media that regularly post reliable proxy information. By adding these addresses to their WhatsApp accounts, users can gain access to the platform with greater ease.
Internet shutdowns have become increasingly prevalent worldwide during times of crises, conflicts, and even to prevent cheating in exams. In 2022, authorities in 35 countries enforced internet shutdowns a staggering 187 times. Shockingly, within the first five months of 2023, the number has already reached 80.
India, in particular, implemented 84 shutdowns in 2022, solidifying its position as a leading democratic country employing deliberate restrictions for the fifth consecutive year.
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