WhatsApp has explained in a blog post that the messaging service will now support proxy servers. A proxy functions as a third layer between the user and the internet, for those who are unfamiliar. When browsing the web, it can be used to ensure greater security and privacy.
Proxy server support, however, will enable users to access WhatsApp even in nations where it is restricted. According to the company, servers will be set up by volunteers and groups “dedicated to aiding others in communicating freely”. Additionally, WhatsApp emphasizes that messages sent via a proxy server will continue to be end-to-end encrypted.
The announcement comes after Iran’s local government last year blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp because protesters had used both services to spread information about human rights abuses. Unfortunately, incidents like this continue to occur frequently throughout the world. WhatsApp claims that the organization is making efforts to ensure that “these internet shutdowns never occur.”
For users interested in building their own proxy server for friends and family, WhatsApp has also made a guide available. Users can access the new feature by visiting WhatsApp’s Storage and Date settings.