(Mirror Daily, United States) – Apple has recently been caught in the latest – but probably not the last – chapter of the ongoing story that is the Great Firewall of China. Due to the active policy of censoring some parts of the Internet, Apple’s News app was blocked in mainland China.
iPhone users in China have reported seeing an error message when attempting to log in to the app, which seems to be less of a technical problem and more of a political one. Yet again, Apple fails to navigate its single-largest phone market that is the nation of China.
Apple’s News app is currently inaccessible for users in mainland China, and not even those who brought the app with them on their iPhone from the U.S. can do anything about it. The app’s censoring was first revealed in a New York Times report.
Even though the app is officially available only in the U.S., users who have downloaded it in the U.S. and used it abroad haven’t had trouble until now, as mainland China appears to be on Apple’s blacklist.
Strangely enough, the app experience in mainland China differs from that in Hong Kong. According to Larry Salibra, a user of the app, he was able to log in to the Apple News app and read fresh news stories as long as he connected from Hong Kong mobile networks.
Travelling over to mainland China – and being automatically switched to their phone networks – caused the app to stop refreshing. He explains that the following message was displayed: “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”
Salibra has described his thoughts on Apple’s troubling practices in a post on Reddit. In their effort to comply with the Chinese news-censoring practice, the company has decided to completely shut down their News app as soon as the smartphone connects to a Chinese network.
So even if Salibra had downloaded and stored news content on his device that he purchased in the U.S., it was all gone before he even entered China, as a Chinese signal happened to float over the border. In spite of having turned off location services, the censorship was still enforced.
Therefore, the broader problem here, he added, is on-device censorship, which is more invasive than having a server or a certain feature blocked by the Great Firewall. Apple declined to comment on its policy in China regarding the app.
Image Source: Apple Magazine
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