Apps, News

Apple Discontinues News App in China

News App in China

No News App in China

Recently it was discovered that Apple has been restricting its news service in China. What may come as a surprise is the fact that this extends further than simply not allowing Apple gadgets in China to download news, content already on the device is also being blocked.

“They’re censoring news content that I downloaded and stored on my device purchased in the USA before I even enter China just because my phone happens to connect to a Chinese signal floating over the border. On device censorship is much different than having your server blocked by the Great Firewall or not enabling a feature for customers with a certain country’s iTunes account. That Apple has little choice doesn’t make it any less creepy or outrageous.”

The Cupertino-based company confirmed to the New York Times, off the record, that it was actually intended to turn off its news service by disabling the News App in China.

“Apple has disabled its news app in China”, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, the most recent sign of how difficult it can be for foreign companies to manage the strict rules governing media and online expression there. Customers who already downloaded the app by registering their phones in the United States can still see content in it when they travel overseas — but they have found that it does not work in China. Those in China who look at the top of the Apple News feed, which would normally display a list of selected articles based on a user’s preferred media, instead see an error message: “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”

China is one of Apple’s most lucrative markets but is under the control of a strict government that wishes to maintain a total monopoly over Information and News. And as such Apple thought the best course of action would be to comply with Beijing’s wishes.  In 2010, Google ran into some problems with the Chinese government and as a result, was kicked out of the country and it still hasn’t found its way back. Apple, fearing a loss of revenue, has instead decided to simply remove its News App instead of antagonizing the Chinese Government.

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