Saturday, May 25, 2024

Why China has banned WhatsApp and Threads on Apple iPhones – Times of India

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Apple has removed Facebook parent Meta’s WhatsApp messaging app and its Threads social media app from iPhones in China. The company has removed there apps from its app store, the App Store in China to comply with orders from Chinese authorities. The iPhone maker said that China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration, ordered the removal of these apps.The move comes amidst heightened tensions between the US and China.
What China said on banning WhatsApp and other apps
The specific national security concerns behind the removal remain unclear. According to a report in the New York Times, “A person briefed on the situation said the Chinese government had found content on WhatsApp and Threads about China’s president, Xi Jinping, that was inflammatory and violated the country’s cybersecurity laws. The specifics of what was in the content was unclear, the person said.”
While US-owned apps like WhatsApp and Threads aren’t widely used in China due to the “Great Firewall” restrictions, the removal highlights the ongoing tech struggle between the two countries. The US has threatened to bring legislation to ban TikTok over national security concerns. But while TikTok, owned by Chinese technology firm ByteDance, is used by millions in the U.S., apps like WhatsApp and Threads are not commonly used in China.
WeChat gains big
China’s own messaging app, WeChat, dominates the market. Meta’s other apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger are still available for download in China, but their use is blocked by the Great Firewall.
According to the NY Times report, quoting Appfigures, several other global messaging apps had also been removed from Apple’s App Store in China on Friday, including Signal, which is based in the United States, and Telegram, which is based in Dubai.
What Apple said on the ban
Apple emphasized following local laws even when they disagree. The company recently lost its top smartphone maker position to Samsung and faces challenges in China, a key market. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent visits to Southeast Asia suggest a focus on diversifying manufacturing beyond China. His meetings in Singapore and Vietnam highlight potential new production hubs.

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