Apple on Wednesday removed the Pocket Casts app from the Chinese App Store. The app’s developers say the removal of the app was at the request of the country’s Cyberspace Administration, which claimed the app could be used to access illegal content.
The Verge says developers told it that they asked Apple for details on which content violated Chinese law. However, they were told to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China for the specifics.
“We believe podcasting is and should remain an open medium, free of government censorship,” Pocket Casts said on its official Twitter account. “As such we won’t be censoring podcast content at their request. We understand this means that it’s unlikely that our iOS App will be available in China, but feel it’s a necessary step to take for any company that values the open distribution model that makes podcasting special.”
The app was reportedly removed about two days after Apple contacted the developer.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in China, as China’s Cyberspace Administration has been known to block access to sites and internet services it doesn’t approve of. Such content includes politically sensitive content, such as criticism of the government.
Apple has previously bent to the will of the Chinese government. Apple last year removed the Quartz news app from China’s App Store following complaints from the government that it included content that is illegal in the communist country. The app was covering the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement protests when it was removed.
A number of well-known apps have been affected by Chinese regulatory agencies in the past, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. Apple has also removed numerous VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, due to government regulations.