Apple deactivates News app in China

“Apple has disabled its news app in China, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, the most recent sign of how difficult it can be for foreign companies to manage the strict rules governing media and online expression there,” Paul Mozur and Katie Benner report for The New York Times.

“The Apple News app, which the company announced in June, is available only to users in the United States, though it is being tested in Britain and Australia. Customers who already downloaded the app by registering their phones in the United States can still see content in it when they travel overseas — but they have found that it does not work in China,” Mazur and Benner report. “Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., declined to comment.”

“Beijing generally insists that companies are responsible for censoring content inside China,” Mazur and Benner report. “In Apple’s case, that would mean it would probably have to develop a censorship system — most Chinese companies use a combination of automated software and employees — to eliminate sensitive articles from feeds.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: On-device censorship? There’s a fine kettle of fish.

Here’s to the staid ones. The conformists. The censors. The sellouts…


  1. Pathetic move by Apple. Simply Pathetic.

    Mac user since the late 80’s, Apple is making it VERY difficult to support such a contemptuous company.

    If you dont stand for freedom, WHAT do you stand for?

    1. I think you misunderstood what Apple did. Had they maintained the news app, the Chinese government would have compelled them to begin censoring the news that came through that app. Apple wanted no part in censorship so they withdrew the app. Apple cannot stop the Chinese government from censoring the news. But they certainly don’t have to be aiding and abetting the government.

    2. Over the top ‘Maoist Rebel’. You didn’t read the article.

      Apple has done nothing-at-all. The article specifically describes the experiences people are having inside China. It’s called censorship by one’s own government. It’s called ‘The Great Firewall of China’. It’s China: Criminal Nation, screwing over its own citizens AS PER USUAL.

      Short version: ‘Communism’ is a fraud. It never works. As soon as it is imposed, this fact becomes obvious and the only resort left to keep control of the so-called ‘government’ is to impose TOTALITARIANISM. This is the end result of all fraudulent government concepts. The same is true of fascism as well, another fraud. This is how two diametrically opposed political, fake ‘systems of government’ end up being exactly the same thing.

      Apple can only sit by and watch China’s crimes against it’s people. It is not participating except to the extent that Apple feeds this monstrosity with money by way of its manufacturing contracts within the country, something that I personally have denounced and ranted about at Apple for years. Feed the beast and it only grows stronger.

      1. Withdrawing manufacturing contracts from China in order to not “feed the beast” presents a conundrum. Doing that would reduce economic growth and reduce the tax base the government feeds on. So that sort of punishes the government for their bad behavior. But in doing so we loose the human interaction between the West and the Chinese population that is far more dangerous to the long term survival of Communism than the western news media that the Chinese government fears so much.

        1. I understand, as you say, the conundrum. But China is playing the devious game of ‘both sides against the middle’ or something like that. What we’re feeding is what’s going to become (IMHO) an Asian empire of some sort to the detriment of our (albeit corrupt) USA empire. Pick a side. I already did.

  2. It might not be under their Apple’s power to stop it. Friends I have the Facebook app installed locally, but when we go into China, we cannot get any new feeds in the FB app. Whether wifi or local 3G it’s just blocked.
    The only way to access FB and other censored information is via VPNs. No other way.

    1. Ok so I read the article and this is the sticky point:
      “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,” his post continued.
      My non-insider take on this is that news articles have some ID tag that defines whether it’s updated or whatnot. The ID needs connectivity to validate it and hence register with Apple servers, for potentially tallying up the number of reads on the article. That could then account for the data collection Apple needs for providing some masked information for publishers and iAds.
      Perhaps someone could test this in the US?
      1) download an article from news app
      2) go into airplane mode
      3) try to read downloaded articles?

  3. This ought to put the meme that Apple doesn’t comply with the NSA to bed. If they don’t decrypt devices, it’s because they can’t. They built the system that way, and for that I give them credit.

    Enter China… The News App can be censored, so it is. Apple is complying with the demand.

    What we have here are two parties behaving badly. Censorship is a recurring issue with both.

  4. China doesn’t want the lying US media corrupting their population so that Washington can start another “colour revolution”. Or psy-op their population for a another regime change. Same goes for so called NGO’s. Their game is up already.

      1. You haven’t heard of them because you rely on US media.
        Look up Rose revolution in Georgia, Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Velvet Revolution checkoslovakia……etc

        1. Well, color your delicious seem to be disrupting totalitarian governments around the world these days. The Chinese government would very much like to avoid becoming another victim of a color Revolution.

  5. I know if I put things this way I might be ‘hated’ here, but I did have a feeling during these ‘post-Jobs’ years that, little by little, Apple has been selling a tiny bit of its soul for better profitability. It feels like Apple is very very slowly sliding away from their core vision ‘making the greatest products on the earth’, and toward making the most profits on earth. I used to believe that Apple is a rare case of a company that has a soul, now it’s more and more a souless, faceless ‘rest of the company’ to me. It is sad……

    1. Yet it was Jobs that started the censoring, albeit for different motivation. Slippery slope this “curation”.

      There’s not one argument that you can make, in support of “curation” that doesn’t also justify China.

    2. I entirely agree with your sentiment ‘MountainWalker’. If Apple does indeed become just another abusive, short-sighted, money grubbing company with no soul… I’m right there along side you telling them they’ve rotted into just another biznizz.

      But the worst aspect of this situation that I see is Apple’s continued contracting of manufacturing within China. That Has To Stop Yesterday!

      Evidence that Apple has NOT been backsliding into just another biznizz: The ongoing REFUSAL of Apple to put backdoors into anything, telling the NSA ad nauseam that they CANNOT decrypt a customer’s phone, messages, etc. They have no encryption keys to do so. THAT is what I want to see in US companies. Apple is the apex of standing up for their customers. They have the required spirit of The Customer Is Collaborator.

      1. DC, your post does not make any sense. Where else can Apple manufacture 200 million iPhones per year? Apple has been working hard just to try to diversify its component supplier chain, and it has been slow and difficult. Now you want Apple to recreate “Foxconn cities” elsewhere?! Your criticism is both unfounded and ridiculous.

        1. I’m sorry you have that opinion. There are plenty of other countries, such as of course the USA, who’d happily manufacture Apple goods. Then there are the cheap labor countries, from within that list, whom Apple would do well to offer their manufacturing.

          What is well founded and entirely not ridiculous is that China abuses the world. When companies, such as Apple, feed that totalitarian, criminal nation, they feed the devastation of the future of mankind. Apparently, I have a better handle on long term consequences than most people.

          What ‘Foxconn cities’ has to do with anything, I don’t know. Talk to Foxconn about that. It’s not an Apple invention, nor Apple’s direct responsibility.

          Meanwhile, It is a great idea for Apple to diversify its component supplier chain, away from China.

    3. I don’t hate you, MountainWalker. But I do not agree with your premise, either. Apple has grown larger, much larger, since the release of the iPhone. As a large, multinational company, Apple faces greater global constraints on its operations.

      China has become a major player for Apple, both in manufacturing and in consumption. Under the current political system, you have to make some accommodations to do business in China. That is an issue for international negotiation. Apple is doing its best to improve working conditions in China and act as a positive influence. That is all that it can do as a corporation.

      1. Thanks for not hating me, KingMel. And you have a point. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic here. Let’s hope that Apple can always find its core value and their own way of doing things when expanding globally. We have too many soulless faceless shameless big corps already…

  6. I can actually vouch for the active internet censorship going on inside China. When I visited Beijing in 2010, I couldn’t access Blogger sites and Facebook. From all accounts, the Great Firewall of China has only grown stronger with time, and they are even now working to block access to VPNs.

    1. What this article is showing is that Apple is the one doing the censoring, not the Great Firewall. That is a totally different issue.

      With a VPN, the Great Firewall is easily bypassed.

      Apple has made it so that even with a VPN in use you cannot get Apple News.

      That is a HUGE loss of Freedom and it is directly due to Apple, not China’s totalitarian government.

      1. “That is a HUGE loss of Freedom and it is directly due to Apple, not China’s totalitarian government.”

        This is just not true. Apple was told by the totalitarian Chinese government to sensor content. Instead, they disabled the app.

        How is that not due to the totalitarian government?

      1. “Paul”, your veracity reputation is already dead. PLEASE move to China, if you’re not already there. Have fun! Enjoy the totalitarianism.

        Meanwhile: Are many or most modern news sources corrupted by their corporate overlords into mere propaganda outlets?

        √ PROVEN FACT. I agree with you there. Expect exactly the same in China. DUH.

        1. So the fake video and fake news generation shown in that video is “itself fake”. What is your evidence that these “news” we’re not faked.

          Oh that’s right…..China cannot censor fake news but you can censor the truth and call for those that show you truth to “go live in China”. How sad.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.