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China flagging security concerns, Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads by Meta from iOS store

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Apple removes Meta's WhatsApp, Threads from iOS store as China flags security concerns

Apple took a significant step by removing Meta Platforms’ WhatsApp and Threads from its China app store on April 19, following an order from the country’s internet regulator citing national security concerns. The move by Apple is in compliance with the regulations set by the Cyberspace Administration of China, emphasizing the company’s commitment to operating within the laws of the countries where it operates.

The decision to remove the apps comes as part of a broader government initiative launched in 2023 to clean up unregistered or inactive apps from major app stores like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. In a bid to tighten control over information flow, Chinese authorities directed all mobile app developers to register with the government by March 2024, citing the need to combat phone scams and financial fraud.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced plans to supervise app registrations from April to June and take action against those that fail to comply. This crackdown on unregistered apps aligns with the government’s broader efforts to restrict access to politically sensitive content, impacting both domestic and foreign companies operating in the country.

Apple, which has a significant presence in China with its largest market outside the US, has always emphasized the importance of adhering to local laws to effectively operate its app store in different countries. CEO Tim Cook’s recent visit to China underscored the company’s commitment to complying with regulations while conducting its business operations. The removal of WhatsApp and Threads from the China store reflects the ongoing challenges faced by tech companies in navigating regulatory requirements in the country.

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