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Apple says it was ordered to remove WhatsApp from the China App Store| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Apple said it removed Meta-owned apps WhatsApp and Threads from its app store in China on Friday by government order, potentially escalating the technology war between the United States and China.

The House of Representatives was preparing to vote on a bill As soon as this weekend, that would force Chinese internet company ByteDance to sell its popular video app TikTok or ban it in the United States. US lawmakers have said TikTok poses a security threat because of its ties to China.

Apple said China's internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration, ordered the removal of WhatsApp and Threads from its app store over national security concerns. Apple said it complied.

“We are required to follow the laws of the countries where we operate, even when we disagree,” an Apple spokesperson said.

A Meta spokesperson directed requests for comment to Apple. The Wall Street Journal previously reported The removal of applications by Apple.

China has long blocked American apps and technology companies, including Facebook and Instagram, which are also owned by Meta. WhatsApp, one of the world's most popular messaging services, and Threads were not widely used in China, which has an elaborate system for blocking foreign apps and websites within its borders, known as the Great Firewall. In China, WhatsApp is dwarfed by WeChat, the Chinese-owned messaging app.

Still, until Friday, Chinese users could download WhatsApp and use it with the help of a virtual private network, or VPN, which is used to set up secure web connections and view prohibited content within China.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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