The Clubhouse direct voice communication application attracts large numbers of users from the Chinese mainland, as this American application is still not subject to censorship by the authorities, despite the extensive discussions it witnesses about rights, national identity and other sensitive topics.
China bans Western social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and imposes strict censorship on the local Internet to get rid of content that may negatively affect the ruling Communist Party.
The Clubhouse app, which launched in early 2020, saw a massive increase in user numbers earlier this month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Robin Hood chief executive Vlad Tennev unexpectedly held discussions on the platform.
Access to the app’s chat rooms is only possible through invitations from existing members. Starting today, he began selling invitations to the platform for between 50 and 400 yuan ($ 7.73 to $ 69.59) on popular Chinese e-commerce sites.
Reuters directly noticed many Chinese-language conversations as thousands of users heard wide-ranging audio discussions covering topics including Xinjiang internment camps, Taiwan independence and Hong Kong’s national security law.
While the Clubhouse app remains uncensored, it is only available on iOS devices and not available in the local Apple app store, both of which are major obstacles to its widespread use in China.
Mainland Chinese users can access the app by modifying their app store website.
It is unclear why this app is still not blocked in China, although some foreign social sites that some Chinese are tracking have managed to work under the surveillance radar.