More Apps Are Disappearing In China Amid Online Censorship in Country
Recently, the Yahoo Finance App disappeared from Apple's App Store in China as the country ramps up its online censorship efforts. Yahoo's app republishes news from foreign media organisations such as those who own websites that are blocked in China like Bloomberg and Reuters. It also shares stock market data.
The Chinese government has also blocked access to foreign media websites and social media platforms like the New York Times, the BBC, Facebook, Twitter and Google. As of now, it is unclear whether Yahoo or Apple took down the app. The Telegraph reached out to both companies for a comment. Yahoo did not respond to the request, while Apple did not comment on the matter.
Aside from that, at least nine religious apps that provide users with texts, prayers, interpretations and podcasts were also removed from the App Store in mainland China. These include Quran Majeed, Holy Bible King James, the Olive Tree Bible App and Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom. Quran Majeed, one of the most popular Quran apps in China, was reportedly banned as it contained "illegal content". Meanwhile, the company behind the Olive Tree Bible App was told during a review that it needed to "provide a permit" indicating that it was allowed to distribute the app in mainland China.
The software firm removed the aforementioned app for now as it is working towards securing the needed approvals.
Benjamin Ismail, Project Director at Apple Censorship, talked about how numerous apps are being removed from China's App Store as per the demand of Chinese authorities.
"Recently, Apple has been removing many apps at the demand of the Chinese authorities. But complying with governments' orders is different than complying with (the) law, especially in China, where the authorities often resort to extralegal means to muzzle the press, bloggers, activists or any dissenting voices," said Ismail.
Apple Censorship is an organisation that monitors App Store changes around the world.
Yahoo Finance and other apps in the App Store are not the only platforms affected by China's online censorship efforts as Microsoft announced that it is shutting down its localised version of LinkedIn for China.
According to Mohak Shroff, Senior Vice President and Head of Engineering at LinkedIn, the company experienced regulatory challenges in China.
"While we've found success in helping Chinese members find jobs and economic opportunity, we have not found that same level of success in the more social aspects of sharing and staying informed. We're also facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China," wrote Shroff in a blog post.
Shroff added that a brand new standalone app called InJobs will launch this year. It will not have a social feed and it will not let users share content.
In related news, cryptocurrency websites CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap have been blocked by China's internet firewall, making them unreachable to internet users in mainland China. However, they can still visit the aforementioned pages if they use virtual private networks or VPN.
CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap provide people with information about the digital currency market such as cryptocurrency prices, charts and market cap.
Written by Sophia Lopez