Popular photo-sharing site Instagram, which claims more than 150 million users worldwide, has been blocked in mainland China as Beijing goes head-to-head with pro-democracy protesters in the former British colony of Hong Kong, according to Reuters. Reports suggest that many of the images and videos that had been taken and circulated by protesters had been tagged with the phrase “Occupy Central”, which was blocked earlier on Sunday on China’s version of Twitter, Weibo.
China started blocking the popular photo-sharing app Instagram on Sunday, as part of its moves to squelch any mention of the use of tear gas on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Instagram, owned by Facebook, had remained one of the few U.S. social networking apps still accessible in a country known for its strict censorship of political topics. But on Sunday, users in China began reporting that the product had been blocked. From Beijing, the app was no longer loading new posts. In an email on Monday, Instagram said, “We are aware of reports that people are having difficulty accessing Instagram and looking into it.” The Chinese government never comments on why certain Internet products are blocked, only suggesting that they’ve broken the law in some way. The block on Instagram could be an attempt to stop photos of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests from spreading into mainland China.