The blocking of popular Western social media platforms in China is nothing new, and regulators appear to have gone after the increasingly fashionable chat app Signal. Users in the country report that the service has been down since yesterday.

After WhatsApp's unwelcome alteration of its privacy policy, many millions have flocked to alternatives such as Telegram and Signal. The latter is the most privacy-focused of the lot, with end-to-end encryption as standard and zero ads or trackers. With that in mind, and given Signal's popularity among dissidents and activists, it was probably only a matter of time before the Chinese authorities took a dim view of it.

We don't know for sure if this ban will be permanent, or if China is just testing the water. As with other banned services, it is still possible to access your Signal chats using a VPN, although this is far from ideal. There doesn't seem to be any official word on the matter coming out of either the Signal camp or China, but we'll monitor the situation as it develops.