Chat service Telegram wants to protect the identity of protesters in Hong Kong by shielding their telephone numbers.
In this way, the company behind the app would like to prevent China from taking measures against users.
Protesters in Hong Kong now use more than a hundred group discussions to coordinate actions with each other. For example, it also exchanges tips on how to protect yourself against tear gas.
An update for Telegram must be released in the coming days. This makes it impossible to find telephone numbers of users in large group conversations.
The new function will probably be optional. If Telegram were to use the number blocking on a larger scale, it would become more difficult for app users to find friends via their address books.
Relations between China and Telegram have been difficult for a long time. In June the chat service was hit by a cyberattack during protests in Hong Kong. According to CEO Pavel Durov, the attack seemed to have been carried out by a government agency.