Apple removes Meta’s WhatsApp and Threads from China’s App Store. Check, why.

iPhone users in China may no longer access some of the most popular messaging and social media apps.

Apple removes Meta's WhatsApp and Threads from China's App Store. Check, why.

The Chinese government ordered Apple on Friday to remove Meta’s messaging service WhatsApp and social media platform Threads from the official service Store in China. In addition to Meta’s apps, Apple was obliged to delete Signal and Telegram chat apps from the App Store.

“We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” a spokeswoman for Apple told the Wall Street Journal.

China’s internet restrictions persist.

Apple removes Meta's WhatsApp and Threads from China's App Store. Check, why.

In general, the Chinese government’s efforts to restrict web access in the country are unsurprising. However, the timing of the latest restriction on Meta’s apps is noteworthy. The United States government is currently working to ban the popular social video app TikTok, which has ties to China through its Chinese-based parent firm Bytedance.

The Chinese government has traditionally moved to restrict the distribution of messaging systems, including these four apps. Protests and social movements against the government have previously been organized using apps such as Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, and Threads. Unlike on China-based social media sites, the government has no control over the propagation of negative articles about the Chinese government and its officials on platforms such as Threads and Telegram.

China is Apple’s second-largest market for the iPhone, so these bans will have a significant impact. However, many Chinese individuals are accustomed to the government’s measures and are skilled at circumventing them through the use of VPNs and other workarounds.


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