Social media platform Pinterest is the latest site to be banned in China.
China’s Great Firewall will no longer allow users to share content or pin images using the popular site, CNNTech reported. Since the site is typically used to share photos related to cooking, home décor and fashion, Pinterest has been freely available in China for years because people weren’t sharing content that violated Chinese sensors.
But watchdog group Greatfire.org confirmed that the Pinterest block went into effect earlier this month.
One theory is that the ban falls in line with a pattern of China blocking foreign sites that may pose a competitive threat to domestic businesses.
According to a paper published by Cho-Wen Chu, a professor at Taiwan’s Chinese Culture University, the country’s censorship has “become a tool of industrial policy to discriminate against foreign competitors.”
The bans on sites like Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook essentially enables local companies like Baidu, Youku, Weibo and Renren to thrive, CNNTech pointed out.
“China’s ‘national security’ concerns may be only a convenient excuse to favor domestic dotcoms by impeding fair competition,” Chu added.
Last year, Facebook sought to implement a quiet but important update to its Android app that made it much easier for potential users in countries where state censors ban the service to gain access to the world’s largest social network.
That includes nations like China and Iran and their combined population of more than 1.4 billion citizens.
In January 2016, mobile Facebook was paired with the anonymity network of freedom fighters, pedophiles, censorship resisters and terrorists: Tor.
The Tor network encrypts and bounces Internet signals around the globe, thus hiding a computer’s or Internet-connected device’s actual location. It helps you evade censors when surfing the Web, and it hides your computer’s true location. So, if one lives under an authoritarian regime, using it allows one reasonable access to non-state censored media and social networks; if one lives in a reasonable regime, odds are one’s use for the Tor network is probably criminal or borderline legal at best.