Advertisement

Apple News blocked in China

By
Tomas Monzon
Apple's newly introduced News app was reported as blocked in China by CNN reporters and one Chinese business owner. It is unclear whether the Chinese government or the company is enforcing the block. Photo by Yeamake/Shutterstock
Apple's newly introduced News app was reported as blocked in China by CNN reporters and one Chinese business owner. It is unclear whether the Chinese government or the company is enforcing the block. Photo by Yeamake/Shutterstock

SHAGNHAI, China, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Apple's News App was reported as non-functioning in China, but the company will not say whether it or the Chinese government is blocking the app.

Although the app, newly introduced with iOS 9, has officially launched only in the United States, U.S. users who download the app in the country can use it in other countries, including Hong Kong, but not mainland China.

Advertisement

CNN reporters in China and Hong Kong downloaded the app by switching their region to the United States. Although the download was successful, the app itself issued an error message saying "Story Unavailable: News isn't supported in your current region."

Founder and CEO of crowdsourced testing services Pay4Bugs, Larry Salibra, has owned a business in China "for the better part of a decade." He too conducted tests to determine how and why the News app is being blocked.

RELATED Apps popular in China infected with malware through Apple iOS

Using uncensored roaming Internet from his hotel in Dongguan did not make the app work, and neither did using a Chinese cellular network while in Hong Kong. Connecting to a Hong Kong network from China, however, did make the app work, meaning the app block is tied to Chinese networks. Salibra points out this technology is used by Apple's Maps app to download government-approved map images by Chinese company Autonavi when a Chinese network is used.

CNN says the app block highlights larger issues of digital censorship by the Chinese government, which actively blocks sites like Google, Facebook, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Only LinkedIn has been allowed to operate in China after it agreed to block certain content.

Other countries like Spain also have laws that affect mobile apps. One such law stipulates that news aggregating programs like News have to pay a licensing fee for using excerpts from news stories.

RELATED Apple signals delivery of electric car by 2019, report says

Latest Headlines