China deals blow to Zuckerberg as WhatsApp, Threads removed from App Store

Meta’s Facebook and Instagram were blocked previously, but WhatsApp and Threads were still available to users

By
Tech desk
Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are also blocked. — Reuters/File
Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are also blocked. — Reuters/File

Apple users in China won’t be able to download or find Meta’s WhatsApp or Threads anymore from the App Store, reported The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Engadget, citing both publications, reported that the company had to remove the apps from the App Store in compliance with China’s internet regulator, Cyberspace Administration.

Apple said that based on China’s national security concerns, the company is “obligated to follow the laws in the countries where [it operates], even when [it disagrees]”.

The Great Firewall of China has over the years blocked several websites, technologies, and apps within the country; however, people use VPN to access them — as they do in several other nations.

Meta’s Facebook and Instagram were blocked previously, but WhatsApp and Threads were still available to users.

The Chinese internet regulator's order comes ahead of a US Senate vote, which could result in a ban on TikTok, whose parent company is Chinese.

China and America’s reasons for banning the apps are the same: they are a threat to the nation’s national security.

The current bill has allowed TikTok's parent company ByteDance a year to divest the video-sharing platform. If it fails, TikTok will be banned from app stores.