Apple pulls WhatsApp, Threads from China's app store under orders from CCP

On Friday, Apple announced that it had complied with the Chinese Communist Party's request to remove Meta's WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store in the country.

Messaging applications Signal and Telegram were also removed by their respective companies.

"The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns," Apple said in a statement, per Reuters. "We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree."

While the aforementioned four applications are now prohibited in mainland China, users in the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong can still access them in the App Store.

Meta's social media and messaging applications are quite popular in North America and other parts of the world, however in China, they never really caught on, with residents preferring to use TenCent's WeChat. 

As Reuters reports, China has worked hard to prevent citizens from accessing Western applications via a censorship apparatus known as the "Great Firewall." Those who wish to download them more often than not have to use a virtual private network (VPN).

The CCP recently moved to make it even harder for non-Chinese applications to gain a foothold in the country. In August, a law was signed requiring all applications to register with the government if they wanted to be available to Chinese users. The rule came into effect on April 1, with companies having until the end of the previous month to register.

This is not the first time Apple has abided by the wishes of the CCP when it comes to preventing Chinese users from accessing certain applications. In 2017 the American tech giant agreed to remove the New York Times application as the government cracked down on news, and in 2023 a number of artificial intelligence chatbots were taken down.

Image: Title: China_App


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