Apple 'pulls gambling apps from China App Store'

What just happened? Apple has pulled 25,000 apps from the app store in China following criticism from the state-run media, which has accused the company of allowing banned content on its platform.

An attendee uses a new iPhone X during a presentation for the media in Beijing, China October 31, 2017.

Apple has been facing criticism from state-operated media for a while now, the report notes. In June past year, Apple removed more than 22,000 apps from its App Store in China - almost 10 times greater than the normal rate - after the company was blamed for taking a 30 per cent cut of revenue generated by in-app donations sent via Chinese social networking platforms like Tencent Holdings' WeChat.

FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China July 30, 2017.

However there is reason to suspect that more than "gambling apps" have been targeted, as Apple was also criticized by Chinese state-media for not policing its iMessage service up to the standards of the CCP, according to reports.

"Apple itself has set up the rules on how to allow apps onto its store, but it didn't follow that, resulting in the proliferation of bogus lottery apps and gambling apps", it said in its report. That's the second time in the past month that the broadcaster took hits at Apple.

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Apple also upset rights groups a year ago when it restricted its Chinese customers' access to Virtual Private Networks, which allow users to circumvent China's Great Firewall and to access blocked websites such as Facebook, Twitter and The New York Times.

The apps help users bypass China's Great Firewall and access foreign social media and news, which are largely banned in China. However, as we've noted before, this purge has led to some apps with nothing to do with gambling being removed or temporarily removed.

Apple now offers more than 1.8 million apps in China.

Earlier this year the company moved cryptographic keys for its iCloud service to China under new legal requirements, raising human rights fears as the country is introducing increasingly strict digital surveillance measures.

Although they do not offer total anonymity online, they are often used to optimise privacy.

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