Thursday, June 11, 2020

Podcast Apps Removed From Chinese App Store

Mark Gurman (also: Pocket Casts):

Apple Inc. removed podcast apps Pocket Casts and Castro from its App Store in China at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the apps’ developers said this week.

“We believe podcasting is and should remain an open medium, free of government censorship,” Pocket Casts wrote on Twitter. “As such we won’t be censoring podcast content at their request.” The developers said that Apple contacted them on behalf of the Chinese regulator and that the app was removed two days later.

Isn’t it great that the platform vendor controls which apps can exist?


I haven’t been contacted about the Apple-China censorship of podcast apps, but Overcast’s servers have been blocked in China for years, so it already didn’t work.

I’ve never tried to get unblocked.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

I’d add “Isn’t it great podcast app makers control which podcasts can exist?”

Apple Podcasts and Overcast smugly blocked Infowars and other podcasts from their search features under the guise of “limiting dangerous misinformation”. Yet media orgs with podcasts featuring debunked Russiagate misinformation remain on both. I don't want to debate, just state that censorship is always political and happens at many levels.

FWIW, I didn't see Pocket Casts or Castro blocking certain podcasts I know to be censored in their search feature.

@Hammer Apple Podcasts and Overcast do let you add podcasts by URL, whereas the App Store won’t let you install an app given a URL to its IPA file. So, for podcasts, I would say it’s more lack of promotion than censorship. The stated reason was hate speech and harassment, not misinformation. (Of course, Apple did censor the Infowars app, which was odd because the app didn’t provide access to the old episodes that violated the podcast policy, only streaming of new episodes with unknown content.)

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