Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from App Store in China

Yordan, 19 April 2024

Apple said it removed Meta-owned apps WhatsApp and Threads from its App Store in China. The US company was ordered to do so by the state government, which cited national security concerns.

Other Meta apps including Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram remain available, as well as other popular US social media apps like YouTube or X (formerly Twitter).

Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from App Store in China

Apple stated that the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront. "We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree", added the statement.

Meta declined to comment and deferred to Apple, while the Cyberspace Administration did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple said WhatsApp and Threads remain available for download through different storefronts, and some people are actually able to download the apps if they have an account outside of China.

Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from App Store in China

Experts on China's tech industry said the government order on WhatsApp and Threads might be related to a rule from 2023 that requires all apps available in China to register with the government. Companies had until the end of last month to complete registrations, as regulations came into effect on April 1.

This isn't the first time Apple had to remove removed apps from its store in China. The New York Times news app has been unavailable since 2017, while ChatGPT-like apps were pulled in 2023 after Beijing implemented regulations on generative AI services.



Reader comments

  • Tom Apple
  • 01 May 2024
  • 3pE

This didn't start with tiktok. China blocked facebook, youtube and others over 10 years ago.

  • Anonymous
  • 23 Apr 2024
  • Dkd

The banning game is started by US and China is just reciprocating it. US is the country that is getting dose of its own medicine.

  • Anonymous
  • 22 Apr 2024
  • 0hx

The West should reciprocate and ban Chinese apps, starting with TicToc (the Western version of which is already banned in China itself), but also other apps used for smart devices, like watches, locks, cameras and sensors. These can be far more damag...

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