Thousands of Chinese users suddenly found themselves unable to reach the Clubhouse early Monday evening as the country prepares for the start of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday.
Clubhouse users were quick to report the situation within WeChat groups and help each other in various ways to return to the social media network voice app.
The sound startup Clubhouse is rapidly gaining traction in China, drawing a group of users early into conversations on a wide range of topics.
The app appears to be facing the fate of other apps and services in the US – that is, the ban – and as of Monday, that was what the Clubhouse was facing.
Users in China can no longer access the Clubhouse app, although the app’s website is still not blocked.
And the app is unlikely to return given how much change the app has to implement To comply with Chinese Internet regulations.
The application faced Criticism In the United States for its lack of effective oversight and abuse prevention practices, it is not surprising that it has been banned in China for clashing with strict measures designed to stifle the spread of information the government deems inappropriate for discussion.
The app was also not officially available through Apple’s App Store, although access to it was freely available without the use of a VPN, provided the app was installed via the device.
Given that Clubhouse is not listed on the Chinese app store, it is unclear how many people from China have been on the platform.
A room discussing the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protest, a banned topic in China, reached the maximum number of participants at 5,000 this afternoon before the ban.
The Clubhouse API was banned on Monday, according to GreatFire, which monitors the state of censored sites in China and helps Chinese internet users circumvent censorship and blocking.
Some users within WeChat groups have reported that they can no longer receive verification codes via Chinese phone numbers, providing additional evidence of the blocking level.
And many users in China registered using Chinese phone numbers, which are linked to the real identity in the country and can make it easier for the police to identify them.
Clubhouse has skyrocketed in popularity in the past two weeks in a few communities in China, including people in startups, investors, academics, or those with an outside background.
Many of them were aware that the application would not last long in China, given the political discussions that reverberate across the platform.
And it appears that some users in China have managed to regain access to the Clubhouse by using the Great Firewall circumvention tool, such as a VPN.
And some can listen and talk with the VPN turned off, as long as they enter the room via a VPN.