Saudi Arabia Blocks Facebook Messenger, No Free Calling Services

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is slowly making developments and moving closer to become a one-stop app for all your needs, be it chatting via text and calls, making flight reservations, hailing cabs, making purchases or even sending some cash to a friend.

However, these efforts seem to be taking a different direction in a few markets that the application is reaching out to. One such issue is currently happening with the government of Saudi Arabia. Well, this is not the first time this is coming up, in fact, Saudi Arabia had already blocked a number of functions and features of several apps, but the attention has now turned to one of the most popular chat apps in the world – Facebook Messenger.

Due to what reports claim are “regulations,” those living in Saudi Arabia can no longer access Facebook Messenger via voice or video calling functions. This is not just happening to Messenger alone, those on IMO are also going through the same agony.

While there are no further details on what these “regulations” really are, what we can understand is that the voice and video calling services that have been blocked are offered for free on Facebook Messenger. As a result, locals are of the view that this move is aimed at protecting the country’s telcos from being “eaten” away by this giant app.

With IMO and Facebook Messenger services, users are able to make free calls to any other person using the app regardless of their location. Both parties only need an internet connection, a role that traditional telcos have been relegated to. The time spent on traditional telcos’ calling systems keeps dropping each passing day and it seems Saudi Arabia wants to put an end to this.

Facebook Messenger joins WhatsApp and Viber in Saudi’s blacklist

As mentioned earlier, this is not the first time such a thing is happening in this Asian country. Another popular Facebook-owned app, WhatsApp, and its Asian competitor – Viber – have already been banned in this country. Just like Facebook Messenger, the two offer free calling services, however, Viber has both video and voice calling as opposed to WhatsApp’s voice calling.

facebook messenger

According to an official, Messenger’s voice and video calling services failed to “comply with regulations.” In addition, the official threatened that any other application failing to comply with the same regulations shall face the same wrath.

As for now, the only major chat apps that seem to be working properly with both voice and video calling services are LINE and Tango. These two are freely available via the official Google Play Store. However, just like the rest of the pack, the person on the other end must also download and install the app on their device.

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