Apple Confirms Disabling iOS 9 News App In China Due to Censorship Concerns

Ali Salman
Posted Oct 11, 2015
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Despite the release of Apple’s infamous smartphone heir of the iPhone 6, the company also released its new operating system. iOS 9 is an important release for Apple as it tends to support the new hardware implementations on the iPhone 6s and adheres to some major internal improvements. The jump up from iOS 8 brought a lot of cool additions and enhancements in the operating system such as the News app.

iOS 9’s News app show curated content based on the likes and interest of the holder. Users choose the topics that interests them and Apple’s News app filters them accordingly. The app is similar to the Flipboard app as it tends to have a lot of similarities apart from the general layout. However, it seems that Apple has deactivated the app in Chinese market.

Let’s ponder over some reasons that factored Apple’s decision to disable the News app in China.

Apple To Develop A Censorship Board For Sensitive Chinese Content?

Even though Apple’s News app limited to the U.S market, it is in the testing phase for Britian and Australia. On the other hand, users who have registered their iOS device in the United States are open to seeing the curated content of the News app in their region. However, customers in China have found out that the app does not work there. Chinese users discovered the ‘Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your region’ error message when trying to see the list of selected articles.

Since China is Apple’s second biggest source of revenue after the U.S, Beijing persuades Apple that it has to eliminate sensitive content within China. Other companies use a set of automated softwares for the job, eliminating sensitive content. According to Beijing, companies are responsible for curating appropriate content which indirectly means that Apple would have to develop a new censorship board. To avoid certain issues, Apple has deactivated the News app completely for Chinese users.

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In that regard Larry Salibra, founder of a software testing service, Pay4Bugs wrote a post on Reddit, highlighting the scenario. “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.”

Apple has strong affiliations with China for a lot of reasons and the company would not risk it for such concerns. Henceforth, by the look of it, Apple will cooperate with Chinese governments stipulations and regulations. This is it for now, folks. How long do you guys think Apple will shut its News app for the Chinese market? Let us know in the comments.

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