China is well-known for their censorship and have in the past (and still are) blocked access by their residents to well-known social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. While this is a great opportunity for businesses in China to develop alternatives, such as Weibo and Youku, safe to say the content will differ greatly from the original. One app on the Chinese iTunes App Store called Open Door allowed users to circumvent China’s censorship firewall by masking users’ identities while they surfed the web. Unfortunately Apple has since pulled the app from the app store, leading many to criticize the Cupertino company’s latest move.
This is not the first time Apple has done something similar in order to keep peace with the Chinese government, presumably to allow them to keep selling their products in China and not be slapped with unnecessary hurdles. Apple states that apps are beholden to the laws of the country in which they are sold. The developers of the app claim they were not notified beforehand before the app was pulled and stated that they will not challenge Apple’s decision in fear of retaliation. According to one developer, “Unfortunately we’re not aware of any app developer ever [who was successful] in challenging Apple’s decision. In fact, we won’t be surprised if Apple decides to pull our app from all App Stores and/or terminates our account in retaliation.”