Apple ‘Blocks’ Its Own News App In China

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Apple News users in China are reportedly the latest to fall victim to the nation’s censorship policies

Apple has reportedly taken the first step to fight back against what it sees as overbearing government censorship in China by blocking its own news app in the country.

Users of the company’s Apple News app are unable to access it in China, including foreign visitors travelling from other countries, according to the The New York Times.

China is notoriously strict about the limits it places on foreign companies and news agencies, often heavily censoring news sites and foreign web pages.

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DellApple launched Apple News earlier this year, and it is currently being trialled in the US, although users are normally able to access the app whilst abroad..

However, users attempting to access the app in China are now greeted with an error message when opening Apple News, which says, “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”

The outage was first noticed by Hong Kong entrepreneur Larry Salibra, who noticed the block earlier this week during a trip to the Chinese mainland. Salibra found that Apple is blocking access to the app based on which carrier the phone connects to, as when he used a Chinese carrier, Apple News was automatically shut down, whether or not you have location services enabled on the phone.

The news marks the latest struggle between a Western technology giant and the censurous Chinese government, which often makes expansion into the country harder than anticipated.

In the past, this has included the likes of Google, which stopped censoring search results in China back in 2010 after it discovered a cyber-attack in which the Gmail accounts of dozens of human rights activists were allegedly accessed.

Last week, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that the company would never co-operate with the Chinese government, as it has faced numerous hurdles to get its site live and accessible to users in the country.

“We’ve made it a principle that we will never co-operate with the censorship of Wikipedia,” Wales said. “We’ve taken a strong stand that access to knowledge is a principle human right.”

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