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App store removals: a new form of online censorship

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

App store removals: a new form of online censorship

Writing for the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo argues that app blocking is a more powerful form of censorship than traditional ways of restricting web use and publishing: there usually are workarounds for accessing a blocked website.

Moreover, as Google’s and Apple’s operating systems typically allow the download of apps only though the respective app stores, the centralised control over apps becomes “one of the most efficient choke points of communication the world has ever seen”.

As a consequence, in combatting digital censorship, too much currently depends on the good will of the few internet giants that control much of the flow of information online, Manjoo concludes.

Earlier this year Apple, compelled by the Chinese government, removed the New York Times’s iOS app from the Chinese version of App Store. Furthermore, Russia forced Apple and Google to remove LinkedIn’s app in the country’s app stores, as its users’ data is not hosted on servers in Russia.

Author

Teemu Henriksson's picture

Teemu Henriksson

Date

2017-01-19 15:01

Author information

The news publishing industry is experiencing transformation at an ever-growing pace, with new policy issues arising as the landscape changes.

We will be examining policy discussions that will define the news publishing environment of the future, the key topics being internet governance, privacy and copyright. Click here to learn more about our work.

WAN-IFRA Media Policy team and experts.


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