Apple Forced to Pull WhatsApp and Threads from China App Store

WhatsApp Keeps Crashing on iPhone

Apple has taken down Meta-owned popular apps, WhatsApp and Threads from its App Store in China, citing government orders, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Apple explains that it did so to comply with China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration, due to national security concerns.

“We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” commenting on the matter, said an Apple spokesperson in an email statement to Reuters.

More importantly, this isn’t the first time China has blocked foreign apps; it has a history of restricting access to them for locals. China’s tight control over internet access typically prevents many foreign apps and technologies from reaching native citizens. People have been using VPNs to bypass this or get around these apps.

The possible reason behind this move could be that the Chinese government found content on WhatsApp and Threads related to China’s President, Xi Jinping, that was “inflammatory” and broke the country’s cybersecurity rules, according to The New York Times report, citing a person in the know.

Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are blocked in China, but people could still download WhatsApp and Threads until removal from the China App Store. Notably, this comes hot on the notion that the US Senate is considering a bill that might ban TikTok in America. According to the bill, TikTok parent Bytedance has a year to sell off TikTok, or else it will be banned from app stores. 

Moreover, a report from The New York Times states that apps including, Signal and Telegram, were also pulled down from China’s App Store, citing a market research firm, Appfigures. That said, Threads and WhatsApp, despite being Western apps, have been immensely popular in China, with total downloads amassing 15 million and 4.7 million, respectively, on iPhones alone.


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