Apple boots WhatsApp and Telegram from the App Store

Apple forced to boot WhatsApp and Telegram from the App Store
The so-called Cyberspace Administration of China has forced Apple to boot a number of encrypted messaging apps like Meta's WhatsApp and Threads, as well as private chat apps Telegram and Signal, from the App Store.

According to the Wall Street Journal's sources, China leaned on Apple to remove those messaging apps because of exchanges that discussed the President of China less than favorably. 

Needless to say, Apple says that is not the reason, but that "we are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree." 

The mighty Cyberspace Administration is the regulatory body that polices the vast confines of the Chinese blogosphere for rising discussion threats and mentions that could result in citizen's critiquing the actions of the Chinese government, or organizing and protesting.

Even before the ban on WhatsApp and Threads from iPhones in China, they were only accessible via a Virtual Private Network, but even that will now be problematic.

The likes of Instagram, X, Facebook, YouTube, or WhatsApp, have been downloaded 170 million times in the past decade or so in China, often used to communicate with the outside world and get alternative viewpoints about the hot topics of the day.

China now requires app developers to register with the censorship authority to review their wares and allow them on the app stores operating in China, including that of the iPhone. 

Apple reportedly expressed its concerns about the process, but was told to get on with its obligations, and there are now more than 14,000 apps that are blacklisted for direct access in China. 

The encrypted chat apps have also been used to disseminate citizen discontent, like the lone protestor on a Beijing bridge railing against pandemic era restrictions. The news about him first surfaced on Telegram, which is now the world's favorite antisystemic chat app. Needless to say, the latest batch of Apple's App Store culling includes Telegram in China as well.

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