Instant-messaging service WhatsApp will enable users connect on proxy servers so they can stay online if the internet is experiencing outages.
The Meta-owned technology giant said it hoped disruptions such as the ones being experienced in Iran “never occur” again.
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 noted in a blog.
“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.”