China's top messaging app is back online in Russia

Here's what some big western companies are called in China
Here's what some big western companies are called in China

China's biggest messaging app has been unblocked in Russia.

Access to WeChat was restored by Russian authorities on Thursday, nearly a week after the app was taken offline for running afoul of the country's information laws. The rule in question requires companies that publish information online to register with the government.

Related: Russia blocks China's biggest messaging app

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said that WeChat has now "provided the information that is necessary to include them in the registry" of online firms. It said restrictions on the app had been lifted.

WeChat, owned by homegrown tech giant Tencent, is China's most popular messaging app with over 900 million monthly active users. It had been offline in Russia since Friday, according to Russian state media.

Related: China's WeChat is censoring group chats without users' knowledge

Tencent (TCEHY) said Monday that it was "in discussions with relevant authorities" in Russia. It did not respond to a request for comment sent after office hours on Thursday.

Russian authorities increasingly view the internet as a serious political threat and are trying to copy China's model of censorship and internet control, according to a recent analysis from New America, a Washington-based think tank.

In 2015, Russia passed a law requiring companies to store data about Russian citizens in the country. That law appears similar to Chinese regulations preventing data collected in China from leaving the country.

WeChat frequently censors topics deemed sensitive by the Chinese government, like Tibet or the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

-- Sherisse Pham and Anastasia Anashkina contributed reporting.

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