After the Iranian government blocked access to Meta’s WhatsApp and Instagram amidst the protests over the death of 22-year-old Masha Amini, WhatsApp responded by saying, “we are working to keep our Iranian friends connected and will do anything within our technical capacity to keep our service up and running.” In a blog post on Thursday, WhatsApp announced it is adding proxy support for all users worldwide.
“We’re putting the power into people’s hands to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted,” WhatsApp shared in the blog post. “Choosing a proxy enables you to connect to WhatsApp through servers set up by volunteers and organizations around the world dedicated to helping people communicate freely.”
WhatsApp says proxy connections will still maintain the “high level of privacy” the app provides, and messages shared will be end-to-end encrypted, “ensuring they stay between you and the person you’re communicating with and are not visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp, or Meta.”
“Our wish for 2023 is that these internet shutdowns never occur,” the blog post reads. “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.”
The proxy support is now available on Android and iOS and can be accessed under Storage and Data menu in Settings.