Apple ordered to remove WhatsApp from the App Store in China

App store - No more WhatsApp China

The iPhone maker has removed the popular messaging application from the shop in the country

Apple has announced that it has been required to remove the WhatsApp messaging application by Meta from the App Store in China in order to comply with regulations issued by Beijing.

The Threads application was also required to be removed

Both WhatsApp and Threads were taken down from the App Store when Apple received an order from Chinese authorities to do so.  Officials from the country cited national security concerns without any additional details regarding the issue.

App store - Security Concerns China

The apps have been taken down at a time when there is already building tension between the United States and China regarding issues of trade, tech, and national security.  This is only the latest in a number of similar steps the countries have taken.

For instance, the United States has been threatening to ban the popular TikTok application over citing its own national security concerns.  That said, while TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company based in China, it is used by millions of people across the United States.  On the other hand, applications such as WhatsApp and Threads are not nearly as popular in China and are not nearly as broadly used there.

WhatsApp and Threads are not immensely popular downloads from the App Store

Instead of WhatsApp and Threads, people in China are much more likely to use WeChat, an application owned by Tencent, a company based in China.

Among the reasons that WhatsApp and Threads never took off in China is that they – like other Meta apps such as Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram – are technically all blocked in China by the “Great Firewall”. That said, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram have not been taken down by the App Store.

The “Great Firewall” is the nickname given to the network of online security filters meant to screen out the use of those types of apps from other countries, as well as websites such as Google.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns,” said a statement released by Apple after the applications had been taken down from their offerings in China. “We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree.”

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