(BBC)-Instant-messaging service WhatsApp is letting users connect via proxy servers so they can stay online if the internet is blocked or disrupted by shutdowns.
The technology giant, owned by Meta, said it hoped blackouts such as those in Iran “never occur” again.
They denied human rights and “cut people off from receiving urgent help”.
WhatsApp is urging its global community to volunteer proxies to help people “communicate freely” and said it would offer guidance on how to set one up.
“Connecting via proxy maintains the same high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp provides,” it blogged.
“Your personal messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption – ensuring they stay between you and the person you’re communicating with and are not visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp or Meta.”
Juras Juršėnas, from proxy and online data collection company Oxylabs, told BBC News: “For people with government restrictions on internet access, such as was the case with Iran, usage of a proxy server can let people retain connection to WhatsApp and the rest of the free, uncensored internet.
“It will allow people around the world to stay connected even if their internet access is blocked by some malicious actors.”