Apple in Gambling App Clampdown

Publish: 21.08.2018
Apple has removed several thousand apps related to gambling from the Chinese version of its app store. The company is cracking down on illegal content in the store and banned several ‘lottery’ services too.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the American phone-maker has removed at least 25,000 apps. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV cited the same number in its report. Apple confirmed that it purged such apps but didn’t confirm the number.

An Apple spokesperson noted that gambling apps are illegal in their Chinese App Store. Both apps and developers trying to create such apps have been removed according to company policy. The company claims that it is ‘vigilant’ in its efforts to find and band such apps from its store.

China is one of Apple’s most significant markets while 1.5 million apps offered in the country alone. The Greater China region- including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, is the third largest business region for the company grossing over $9.6 billion in the recent quarter. It contributes roughly 18 percent to the company’s global revenue.

The company removed these mobile casino apps a few weeks after Xinhua and four other state-backed news outlets criticized Apple for allowing apps that allowed prohibited content in the territory, including counterfeit goods, pornography, and gambling. The staunch criticism could be attributed to the trade war between the US and China that recently made another American technology company Qualcomm lose its $44 billion acquisition of NXP. The government’s strict stance on gambling and other prohibited content is also costing some domestic startups.

ByteDance, a media firm operating, and distribution video and news apps was recently asked to terminate a parody app operated in China. The firm is looking to raise $2.5 to $3.5 billion from investors. The company doubled down on its content moderation team and developed strong content checking systems in response.

The step is a part of a wider crackdown on activities that the authorities consider illegal. Content that does not adhere to core socialist values were removed from these sites. Musicians were asked to cover up their tattoos as well.

The authorities also shut down four additional content and news apps from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Play Store. These apps included Tiantian Kauibao, ifeng news and Netease News along with Toutiao’s mobile app and other popular online financial and crypto news portals. The state authorities bashed these platforms for vulgar content, content that challenges authorities or presents a distorted version of history.