Apple removes Threads and WhatsApp from App Store at the behest of the Chinese government

It has been reported that Apple has removed Meta's social networking app 'Threads' and messaging app 'WhatsApp' from the Chinese App Store at the direction of the Chinese government.

Apple Says It Was Ordered to Pull WhatsApp from China App Store - The New York Times

Apple deletes WhatsApp, Threads from China app store on orders from Beijing | CNN Business

Apple pulls WhatsApp, Threads from China app store after Beijing order | Reuters

Apple Pulls WhatsApp, Threads From China App Store | TIME

On April 19, 2024, Apple announced that it had removed Threads and WhatsApp from its Chinese app store following orders from regulators citing national security concerns.

Meta referred media inquiries to Apple for comment.

In a media statement, an Apple spokesperson said, 'We are required to follow the laws of the countries where we operate, even when we disagree with them. The Cyberspace Administration of China has ordered the removal of Threads and WhatsApp from China app stores, citing national security concerns. Both apps remain available for download on all other app stores.'

Threads and WhatsApp are Meta-owned apps that have been blocked in China since the beginning, meaning that they have few Chinese users, while other Meta apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are still available for download in China, along with YouTube and X (formerly Twitter).

A person familiar with the matter told The New York Times that inflammatory content about President Xi Jinping that violated the cybersecurity law was found on Threads and WhatsApp, but did not provide details about the content in question.

While it's unclear if they're related, data from market research firm Appfigures shows that several global messaging apps, including US-based Signal and Dubai-based Telegram, have similarly disappeared from China's App Store.

Apple has been struggling in China,

falling from its position as the best-selling smartphone manufacturer in 2023 and seeing its iPhone shipments in the country fall by 33% in February 2024, and it has been reported that the company is being heavily affected by rising tensions between the United States and China.

By Cory Doctorow

Some have also suggested that the Chinese authorities' actions may be related to the inclusion of a 'TikTok Sale Bill' in the emergency aid bill for Ukraine and Israel that the U.S. Congress is scheduled to vote on on April 20, 2024.

In the United States, there have long been concerns about privacy issues surrounding TikTok, an app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and in 2022 a bill was passed banning its use by government agencies.In addition, in March 2024, Congress passed the ``Protecting Americans from Applications Controlled by Foreign Adversaries Act,'' which requires ByteDance to sell its TikTok business, with unusually fast adoption .

The omnibus bill currently under deliberation in Congress also includes measures to support allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan, and President Joe Biden has called for its swift congressional approval, saying, 'If it passes, I will sign it immediately.'

in Mobile,   Software,   Web Service, Posted by log1l_ks