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Skype pulls a disappearing act on Chinese app stores

Skype pulls a disappearing act on Chinese app stores
[Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash]

Skype may have just joined an exclusive, yet growing, club (like The Wing!)  of internet services that are inaccessible to Chinese users.

In the latest move by the Chinese government to control and monitor the flow of communication and availability of information online, The New York Times reports that Skype, Microsoft’s internet phone call and messaging service, has been disappeared from a number of app stores in China, including Apple’s, for almost a month. Skype joins sites like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Google, and some Google services like Gmail, which are unavailable or throttled for some or all Chinese users who live behind The Great Firewall.

An Apple spokesperson told The Times that they company was notified by China’s Ministry of Public Security that “a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law” and, thus, “have been removed from the app store in China.” A Microsoft spokesman told The Times that the Skype removal from Apple’s app store was temporary and that the company was “working to reinstate the app as soon as possible.”  Skype allegedly still functions in China, but since no one in the country can download the app anymore, its fate is not yet clear.ML