Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store After Being Pressurized 

Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store, which is a hot topic among social media users as the United States government passes a bill to ban it in the U.S. marketplace. 

The Chinese government ordered Apple to remove WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store due to national security concerns. Apple confirmed the removal of both apps owned by Meta, owner of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. 

The decision was relayed to Apple under the instructions of the Chinese Cyberspace Administration and they had to remove the apps after immense pressure from the authorities. As you might have already noticed, the Chinese censorship and regulation of internet or online content is quite strict. Anything that deviates from their norms or poses a threat to them is removed promptly. 

Chinese Cyberspace: Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from Chinese App Store

Apple wasn’t expecting the Chinese government to request the removal of WhatsApp and Threads from their App Store. However, they had to agree with their request as they operate in China and are obliged to follow their laws. China ordered multiple apps removal before this request, and the Chinese don’t have access to multiple popular apps in the world due to national security reasons. 

China’s Great Firewall blocks multiple foreign apps, including the one Apple has to remove. Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store, whereas, their firewall system has blocked multiple other sites as well, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Linkedin (restricted local version)
  • Quora
  • Tumblr
  • Picasa
  • Clubhouse
  • Blogspot
  • Blogger
  • Medium
  • Flickr
  • SoundCloud
  • Google Hangouts
  • Hootsuite
  • Badoo
  • Disqus
  • Tinder
  • GitHub

These are the only social media applications that are banned in China to control the information flow, news channels and multiple other informative sites are also banned in the country. However, you can access these apps including WhatsApp and Threads if you have access to a VPN or iCloud accounts set on your iPhone. 

Why Does Apple Remove WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store

China’s communist ruling party forces tightening the censorship and control over the internet as children are using social media apps for longer intervals than necessary. Moreover, there is a continuous influx of sensitive content on social media, that the regulators are unable to spot. 

Therefore, the Chinese government has proposed policies specially designed to monitor communication and reduce the time children spend online. Whereas, the concerns related to WhatsApp and Threads haven’t been revealed yet. 

Is TikTok Banning Associated with the Removal of WhatsApp and Threads

This removal isn’t a reaction to banning TikTok in the U.S. and passing a bill for its banning. Before the U.S. legislature voted on banning TikTok, the Chinese government had already sent their suggestions to Apple. Meanwhile, the U.S. government might be trying to pressure the Chinese company ByteDance to sell TikTok to the States. However, no such agreement has been confirmed yet, even when TikTok is facing a ban from the U.S. market. 

Biden passed the bill to ban TikTok or shift it from Chinese ownership to U.S., due to national security concerns. According to lawmakers, TikTok is influencing the American public with foreign (Chinese) content. Therefore, they need to retain U.S. user data from China. 

Why Does China Ban Applications and Websites?

To preserve social order and public opinion, the Chinese government restricts the spread of information that can yield to security concerns. If there’s any question on legitimacy, deviation from official political position, or promotion of dissent, the Chinese government either vendor the content or blocks the software. 

Banned News Websites in China

Henceforth, China has banned the following news websites in their country:

  • New York Times
  • The Financial Times
  • The Economist
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Bloomberg
  • Google News
  • Wikipedia

Banned Media Sites in China

Apart from that, you can’t use the following search engines in China:

  • The New York Times
  • The Financial Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The Economist
  • Bloomberg
  • Reuters
  • The Washington Post
  • The South China Morning Post
  • The Independent
  • The Daily Mail
  • LeMonde
  • L’Equipe
  • Google News
  • Many Wikipedia pages
  • Wikileaks

Banned Search Engines in China

The banned search engines by the Chinese government see the following:

  • Google 
  • Duck Duck Go
  • Yahoo
  • Foreign versions of the Baidu messaging application 

Banned Messaging Apps in China

The banned messaging apps are the following:

  • Whatsapp
  • Messenger
  • Viber
  • Telegram
  • Line
  • Periscope
  • KaKao Talk
  • Discord
  • Clubhouse


Apple removed WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store amid security concerns and a similar thing is happening in the U.S. as well. It’s a well-known fact that applications collect data, but to what extent is still a mystery. Can the data from the apps pose a threat to the national security of a country is a huge issue. 

Apple removes WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese App Store, what do you think about it and banning TikTok from the US marketplace, comment below. 

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