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Apple has removed Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal from the App Store in China at the request of local authorities

Apple has removed Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal from the App Store in China at the request of local authorities
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Apple has removed some social platform applications from its Chinese App Store. This was the result of an order from Beijing to close additional loopholes in the long-standing Great Chinese Firewall.

Messengers like Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal were sent under the knife. Apple, which consistently adheres to one of the strictest internet censorship regimes in the world, stated that the Cybersecurity Administration of China removed the applications for national security reasons.

These orders to remove applications came after the launch of a cleanup program initiated by Chinese regulators in 2023. It was planned that this program would remove many non-existent or unregistered applications from internal iOS and Android stores, including local ones. In August of last year, China ordered all mobile app developers to undergo government registration by the end of March or cease operations. In other words, to continue operating in China, developers and their applications must comply with the new licensing regime.

"This will mean that Chinese consumers will largely be limited to Chinese applications with a small number of international ones," said Rich Bishop, co-founder and CEO of consulting company AppInChina. "This is a fairly significant change, so in some ways it will further cut off Chinese citizens from the rest of the world."

For years, China has banned the use of foreign messaging and social media platforms, such as WhatsApp. These and other bans in the Chinese segment of the network are known as the Great Chinese Firewall. This has helped applications like WeChat from Tencent dominate in domestic usage. Although Chinese users can still use VPNs to access foreign media.

China's actions to block American services come at a time when the US government is taking steps to ban TikTok from Chinese company ByteDance. American politicians have also cited national security concerns, trying to compel the company to sell TikTok to a non-Chinese owner, otherwise the service faces a ban in the US market.

Source: bloomberg

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