(Noted News) — The Chinese government has purged 105 different mobile apps from Chinese app stores, and TripAdvisor is one of them. The Cybersecurity Agency of China (CAC) announced on Tuesday that they would be banning a large collection of apps to prevent various forms of crime and dangerous activities in accordance with national security laws.
The CAC referred to this group of 105 mobile applications as “the first batch,” implying there would be more to come. The statement doesn’t say why each app was banned, but it does give a blanket statement that all the apps were either engaging in illegal activities or promoting or allowing content unapproved by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).[Translated from Mandarin:]
“In response to some mobile applications that netizens have strongly complained about spreading obscene, pornographic, violent, terrorist, and other illegal information, and providing illegal and illegal services such as fraud, gambling, and prostitution, the National Cyberspace Administration of China is based on the “Network Security Law” and “Network Information Content Ecological Governance Regulations, “Mobile Internet Application Information Service Management Regulations” and other laws and regulations and relevant national regulations, starting from November 5th, organize and carry out special rectification of mobile application information content chaos…”
TripAdvisor is a Massachusetts-based company but recently struck up a partnership with Chinese company Trip.com to form a joint venture in the country, with Tripadvisor controlling 40% of operations there.
This joint venture synchronized TripAdvisor’s data and content with Trip.com and its subsidiaries, making them heavy competition against local companies like Qyer, Klook, and others.
China’s recent purge is consistent with routine cleanses of the mobile application world, with the CCP regularly culling different apps for various reasons, including highly successful ones from their own country, like Toutlao and Neihan Duanzi, both shut down because of users sharing “crude content” on the platform.
The CAC is a well-funded, highly sophisticated arm of the CCP that is mostly in charge of censoring things and regulating the internet. Tripadvisor is not the first American company to feel its wrath. In 2018, hotel group Marriot had their app blocked for a week because they listed Hong Kong and Macau as individual countries, something the CCP does not recognize.
The CAC’s statement only listed a handful of the total amount of apps purged.
“ …The first batch of cleaning and removal of TripAdvisor, Su Ge, Mask Park, Play Can Play, Vision, Tata, Siti, Xinhuan, Single Dating Chat, Dark Night Drifting Bottle, Fergie, Ye Luyun, Huazi Live, Madou Media, Soy Milk TV Player, Red Apricot video, green grass video, enjoy sex, mimosa, lemon, puff comics, 51 comics, Han Manren, volcano reading, and 105 other illegal mobile applications.”
On top of the individual apps being shut down in this purge, the CAC also managed to ban 8 different app stores for not complying with review regulations and allowing the downloading of illegal content.
“ …At the same time, 8 app stores, including speed downloads, 7755 app, New Vision, Win Home, Pippi Bus, 7230 Mobile Games, Software Emperor, and dmfuns, which have not fulfilled the audit requirements and put on the shelves of illegal and illegal applications, have been stopped in accordance with laws and regulations. Download service disposal measures.”
It’s unclear how TripAdvisor violated any of the standards listed in the CAC’s stated regulations, or whether or not their banning has anything to do with the tit-for-tat trade war between China and the United States.
In September, the White House threatened Tik-Tok with a ban unless they IPO’d to the American market. President Donald Trump penned an executive order referring to Tik Tok as a threat to national security.
“TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories…TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”
TripAdvisor’s shares on the Nasdaq took a modest dive when news of the banning broke, but then recovered most of the losses later in the day.