(Reuters) – New York-based podcasting platform Pocket Casts said its app had been taken down from Apple Inc’s app store in China.
Reuters couldn’t immediately verify why the app was no longer available in the store.
Pockets Casts, ranked 85th most popular in the podcast news app section on Apple’s U.S website, said on Wednesday the move was taken by Apple after intervention by Beijing’s top internet watchdog.
Apple U.S. officials weren’t immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. market hours. Reuters was not immediately able to contact the CAC by fax using the official number provided for the watchdog by the government.
The removal comes amid growing debate over China and freedom of speech after a resurgence of activity by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, angered by Beijing’s plans to impose new security laws.
Separately U.S.-based Chinese activists said on Thursday that Zoom Video Communications temporarily shut an account after the activists held an event to commemorate the 31st anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown.
In a message on Twitter here Pocket Casts said that its app “has been removed … by Apple at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC)”.
“We were contacted by the CAC through Apple around two days before the app was removed from the store,” Pocket Casts said on Twitter.
Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell