Meta-owned WhatsApp on January 5 introduced a new feature under which it is letting users connect through proxy servers so that they can stay online even if the internet is blocked or disrupted by shutdowns.

Following the denied human rights in Iran, WhatsApp is calling for the global community to volunteer proxies to help people communicate freely, adding it would also offer guidance on how to set one up.

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Last year, Iran blocked Instagram and WhatsApp access to subdue protests following 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death at local authorities’ hands.

“We continue to fight for your right to communicate freely and privately,” WhatsApp wrote on Twitter.

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“Now, when connecting to WhatsApp directly is not possible, you can stay connected around the world through a server set up by volunteers and organizations dedicated to helping others communicate freely,” it added.

“We are making it easier for anyone to connect to WhatsApp using a proxy. So when a connection to WhatsApp is blocked, people have the power to restore access,” said Will Cathcart, Head of WhatsApp.

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The instant-messaging platform said through proxy maintains a high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp provides. The option is now available in the settings menu for everyone running the latest version of WhatsApp.

To use a Proxy, ensure that WhatsApp is updated to the latest version. Under the setup, you will require to enter a proxy server address, which you will need to track down through friends or by searching through social media once news of the feature spreads.

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To connect to a Proxy, you need to go into your WhatsApp setting and tap “Storage and Data” and select “Proxy.” Then, tap “Use Proxy” enter the proxy address, and tap “Save” to connect. When the connection is successful, the user will see a checkmark. If you are still unable to send or receive WhatsApp messages using a proxy, that proxy may have been blocked.