WhatsApp faces block in Saudi Arabia ‘within weeks’, says report

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WhatsApp faces being blocked in Saudi Arabia ‘within weeks’, according to the Aleqtisadiah newspaper.

Representatives of the popular smartphone messaging application are expected to reject requirements set out by the kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the newspaper said.

That means that the application could be blocked, following a similar ban on the Viber app, which allows smartphone users to make free calls.

Aleqtisadiah’s unnamed “official sources” said WhatsApp would not cooperate with telecom providers to meet the CITC’s regulatory requirements.

CITC released a statement in March confirming that some online applications did not match the regulator’s requirements or the kingdom’s rules and regulations.

“The CITC has requested licensed service providers to work along with developers of such applications to rapidly meet required regulatory requirements,” it added.

The services cited in the CITC’s review included WhatsApp, Skype and Viber, among others, said the statement.

The CITC banned Viber last Wednesday. “It did not meet the set requirements and the Kingdom’s rules and regulations,” said a statement issued announcing the ban.

Talmon Marco, founder and CEO of Viber, told the BBC that Viber was working on overcoming the block.

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