Internet messenger apps face ban in Saudi Arabia

Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and similar OTT messenger players reportedly face a ban in the kingdom unless operators can allow authorities to censor them.

Saudi Arabia is looking to ban the use of messenger applications such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp, unless the operators can allow authorities to censor them.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission is currently working with the application providers on the issue, a source told Saudi news site Sabq, in a Gulf News report over the weekend.


News site Middle East Online cited a source who said the service providers have been given a week ending Saturday to respond, if not they would face "measures to ban them.

It added another industry source said telecom operators were behind the move, pushing for a ban due to the "damage" caused by the over-the-top (OTT) service providers .

The news follows a similar move in 2010 by Saudi Arabia, which threatened to ban BlackBerry Messenger services unless the company allowed regulators greater control to monitor messages.