Is Twitter blocked in China?
Is Twitter blocked in China?
Yes, Twitter is blocked in China. Anyone who attempts to access the Twitter website will immediately see an error page. The app’s feed will not refresh and new tweets cannot be posted.
Twitter was first blocked in China in 2009. This was preceded by a number of riots in the western capital of the Xinjiang province, Urumqi. Minority Muslim activists reportedly used Twitter and Facebook to communicate and organize the riots. The presumption is that the Chinese government was trying to block these sites due to their ease of use in spreading political and social commentary that is in direct contradiction to the Communist government.
Tip: to unblock Twitter, or any other site blocked in China, you will need a VPN. There are hundreds of VPNs but most won’t work. Luckily, we maintain a list of VPNs that work in China!
Since the initial block in 2009, China has maintained that block status for the social media platform. Chinese authorities cannot control the content produced on Twitter, making it a danger to the ideals of the Communist Party. It is unlikely that the website will be unblocked any time in the future.
The direct result of blocking social media websites like Twitter is beneficial for China. By blocking Twitter, the country is able to utilize its own, homegrown social networks. The main substitute is currently Weibo, a sort of Twitter-Facebook hybrid. There are others as well, such as WeChat. The WeChat service has over 700 million active users, while Weibo has over 600 million users.
How to unblock Twitter in China
You can access both the Twitter website and mobile application from China by connecting to a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that encrypts your internet traffic and routes that data through a remote server where that traffic is not blocked. Many VPN services work with any sort of device and allow you to connect to servers located in a large number of locations across the world. For best effect, you would connect to a country outside of China where social media services like Twitter are not blocked.
VPNs range from free to paid subscription services, with those that have service plans often offering monthly or yearly options. The most reputable VPN providers offer their services for a relatively low free, while most free services are extremely limited in what they offer. Common benefits include unlimited bandwidth, high-level security, no data caps and no-logs policies.
It’s important to note that China is fully aware that many people are using VPN services to bypass the Great Firewall, the term applied to the country’s highly advanced internet censorship system. There are some VPNs that are actually blocked, as some rather obviously give away the fact that they are VPN services. In some cases, the VPN website itself, and therefore the ability to even download the program, is also blocked.
As this is the case, we recommend that you look at our list of the best VPNs for China. Our list breaks down which VPN services offer mobile or desktop applications, or both. You’ll also want to avoid VPNs that make mobile access difficult to configure.
We recommend ExpressVPN as your best option. ExpressVPN has applications for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux (command-line). ExpressVPN has been one of the most reliable VPN services in China, with a wide range of remote servers, great speed, and a notable ease of use.
After signing up for an account, all you need to do is install the software. Be sure to select a VPN location outside of China. To date, Twitter is only blocked in China, North Korea and Iran. Once you establish a location to a remote server, you’ll have immediate access to the Twitter website and mobile app.