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WhatsApp & Threads pulled from Apple App Store in China

China dictates what it allows on its country's internet and App Store

Apple has removed Meta-owned apps WhatsApp and Threads from the China App Store after government officials claimed national security concerns.

The App Store culling continues in China after 30,000 games, then an additional 94,000 games, 44,000 apps, then 100 ChatGPT-like apps were removed over the past four years. The government in China is the driving force behind these app removals, but a more significant App Store removal took place on Thursday night.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple was given orders by the government in China to remove WhatsApp and Threads from the App Store. China's cyberspace officials claim the apps needed to be removed based on national security concerns.

It isn't a big secret that China wants incredible control over information available online to its citizens. The country is notorious for applying rules in the name of security to censor unwanted information and technologies.

Apple has little choice in the matter as the company must comply with local laws even when they contradict the company's core values. Otherwise, Apple could face significant problems with its supply chain and a significant portion of its market if it is forced out of China.

Facebook has been blocked from use in China since at least 2009. The Meta-owned Threads launched in the country in 2023 and has been available since, but WhatsApp has seemingly been blocked from use since at least 2017.

With the apps pulled from the App Store, users will no longer be able to download Threads or WhatsApp. That means there isn't an easy way to access these apps, even with a VPN.