China does not allow any content in the country the government finds sensitive. Many tech giants have already fallen prey to China’s strict rules applied on the availability of the internet. Websites popular worldwide have been blocked in China: Facebook, Twitter and Gmail, for example. Back in 2010, Google, too, moved its web-search operations based in China to Hong Kong.
Apple News being a content-based App needs to be censored in a way that suits the country’s stringent rules. When the Chinese try to access the Apple News app on their devices, they get the following message:
“Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”
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Apple has not yet commented on the issue. With a population of 1.35 billion and a great response for gadgets, this is a country tech giants cannot afford to skip. This is why companies need to alter their own terms and conditions to match China’s so that the country allows these gadget-manufacturing companies to function.
Apple had an option to censor the content while still making the app available. The company has chosen to disable the app to avoid problems in the future. Addressing the issue, Larry Salibra, founder of Pay4Bugs said, “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.” Disappointed by the whole issue, he further added, “On device censorship is much different than having your server blocked by the Great Firewall or not enabling a feature for customers with certain country iTunes account.”
Many of the companies able to operate in China develop a system that censors content the government feels inappropriate. for which they use a combination of employees and an automated software. As Apple is not commenting on the issue, chances are that the app has been pulled down temporarily. The company might bring back Apple News App in China by developing its own censorship system sooner or later.