Audio-chatting app Clubhouse blocked in China

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Audio-Chatting app Clubhouse has been banned in China. The app was getting increasingly popular among users in China. On Monday, users were unable to access the Clubhouse app.

Just like the other US-based apps, Clubhouse was also blocked in China. However, the website of the app is still available to the users. As per TechCrunch, users reported inside WeChat groups that they could no longer access the app. The app is unlikely to make a comeback in China because in order to comply with Chinese internet regulation, It will have to go through a lot of changes.

Clubhouse has been facing criticism in the United States over its lack of moderation. The report reveals that the app was available on Apple’s China App Store, the access to it and its audio rooms were available without the use of a VPN.

“This is not Apple’s doing but surely they must be happy to get out of a tight spot, as the discussion will shift from Apple’s involvement in the removal from App Store to the blocking of servers by authorities,” said Benjamin Ismail, campaign and advocacy director at GreatFire.org, which monitors censorship in China told TechCrunch.

Clubhouse is an iPhone-only app for now, which was founded in April 2020 by Alpha Exploration and has garnered over 2.4 million downloads on Apple’s App Store globally. According to Sensor Tower data cited by AdWeek, nearly 1.3 million of those downloads took place in January this year. In India, it recorded over 8,000 downloads last month and has witnessed a total of 12,000 downloads, as per Sensor Tower. Its investors revealed in a new report that the Clubhouse was valued at $1 billion.

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The app is exclusively for iPhone users for now. They can download the app to become a part of the conversation. However, one cannot join a conversation on clubhouse without getting an invitation on the app “Anyone can get one by joining the waitlist, or by asking an existing user for one,” Clubhouse app description says. Clubhouse also has a website called joinclubhouse.com which redirects users to the Apple App Store. Users can also download Clubhouse on an iPad but PCMag reports that it is not optimized for iPadOS and that users will see the app in a small window, or will have to look at it in a “weird, zoomed-in 2x size.”