Thousands of Clubhouse users from China suddenly found themselves unable to access the platform on Monday.
Clubhouse, a social network based on voice—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time was recently blocked in China.
Clubhouse gained massive users globally when Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO, Vlad Tenev held a surprise discussion on the platform causing many users to troop into the platform.
Amongst these new users, were people from Mainland China who came on the platform to discuss issues on sensitive topics that are not allowed in their home country, The topics include, like Xinjiang detention camps, Taiwan independence, and Hong Kong’s National Security Law.
According to Bloomberg, the ban reportedly came after Chinese-speaking users started discussing issues like China-Taiwan relations, as well as the Chinese government’s genocide of Uighur Muslims.
Open discussion of such topics is off-limits in China, where heavy government censorship is the norm. Unfavorable comments or articles are rapidly removed on platforms such as WeChat and microblogging platform Weibo.
- Clubhouse app is unavailable in the local Apple app store in China, but mainland Chinese users had been able to access the app by modifying the location of their app store.
- Since clubhouse is an invitation-only app, many people created a black market for this and started selling invite codes for 300 yuan (46 dollars) before the app was blocked.
- Most social media apps including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are banned in China, where the local internet is tightly regulated and often censored of content that could undermine the country’s ruling Communist Party.
What this means: The app is unlikely to return, given how much its model would have to change to comply with Chinese internet regulation.