China is continuing its disturbing trend of social media crackdowns as pro-democracy protests flair in Hong Kong. Websites such as Blocked In China, which monitor the government’s censorship of online services, confirm that the blackout spreads across the country.
Up until this point, Facebook’s image-sharing application had mostly avoided censors. Instead, China has traditionally targeted Google services, as happened this year leading up to the 25th anniversary of the Tienanmen Square protests, as well as other small incidents in the past few years.
Reuters reports that this Instagram block isn’t a complete shutdown, as users can still post to the website in Hong Kong and viewers outside of the city can see the posts, but noone inside mainland China can see those posts — which is probably the point.
Most Instagram posts were tagged with #OccupyHK or #OccupyCentral. This last handle was also blocked on China’s Twitter equivalent, Weibo. Of course, social media isn’t the only avenue of communication — there a currently dozens of ongoing livestreams of the protests.
Instagram has yet to confirm or make any official statement regarding the matter. [Reuters]