China is restricting American apps citing security concerns

  • Apple has confirmed that an order from the Chinese government forced the company to remove WhatsApp and Threads from the China App Store.
  • China’s Cyberspace Administration cited security concerns regarding the two Meta-owned applications.
  • The move comes as the US Senate nears its band of TikTok in the United States.

It looks like China is looking to match the US government stride for stride when it comes to handling foreign-owned social media applications. This as Apple confirmed that both WhatsApp and Threads have been removed from the China App Store as the American apps were deemed to be a significant enough security risk.

According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), China’s Cyberspace Administration, which is the internet regulator in the region, issued an order to Apple to remove the two Meta-owned applications.

As Reuters points out, at the time of writing, the other Meta-owned platforms like Facebook and Instagram remain available in China, with the same going for other American apps like X and YouTube, which are still downloadable. It is therefore not abundantly clear why those two apps in particular have been targeted for removal.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns,” Apple noted in a short statement emailed to the news outlet.

“We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” it added.

Reuters went on to posit that the ordered removal of the apps is down to a rule from the Cyberspace Administration last year that instructed all foreign-owned platforms operating in China to register with its regulators or face removal, although Apple has not hinted at that being the case.

While that is one possible theory, another may be the continued efforts by the US Senate to get ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok or face a fully fledged ban in the United States.

Whatever the reason is, it looks like technology companies will be the collateral damage and the US and China continue their stand-off.

[Image – Photo by Julian Christ on Unsplash]


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