WhatsApp faces ban in Saudi Arabia

Even as WhatsApp has hit a new record with 27 billion messages processed in a single day, the cross-platform messaging service is facing a ban in Saudi Arabia for non-compliance with the country’s local rules and regulations.

According to a report by local newspaper Aleqtusadiah, WhatsApp could be blocked in Saudi Arabia “within weeks”. The country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) claimed that the US based app does not comply with the local rules and regulations set in place.

The report continues that talks between the country’s telecom authorities and WhatsApp had got off on a positive start but had seemed to be falling through, with Saudi’s regulatory requests not being met. The application is now staring at a potential ban in the country soon.

No threat to the telcoms and SMS

May face a ban


WhatsApp, if banned, certainly will not be the first casualty in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this month, Viber was banned on the charge that it deprived telecom players of revenue from international calls and texts. Unlike WhatsApp, you can use Viber to make calls from one smartphone to the other.

The CITC said that it had banned Viber because it was difficult for the state and law enforcement to monitor communications made through the app. Viber, however, had been restored after a week’s suspension. It’s still unclear how a compromise was reached between the government and Viber. A report by news site Sabq said that it was not revealed whether Viber had complied with Saudi Arabia’s requirement or whether the app makers had found “other ways”.

Besides WhatsApp, Skype is under the CITC scanner now as well. About three years ago, BlackBerry too had been made to comply with CITC requirements, in order to operate in the country.

Published Date: Jun 13, 2013 12:14 pm | Updated Date: Jun 13, 2013 12:14 pm