Apple makes dramatic u-turn banning Hong Kong protest app
Apple has made a dramatic u-turn on its decision to allow the HKmap.live app on its app store after coming under attack from Chinese state media.
HKmap.live, which crowdsources real-time locations of police, protestors and traffic, has become a key tool for protestors during the ongoing violent clashes with police in the territory.
Earlier this week, Chinese state media has attacked the tech giant stating it has “betrayed the feelings of the Chinese people” by approving the HKmap.live app.
Apple had originally rejected the crowdsourcing app earlier this month, but reversed its decision this week allowing iOS users to access it via the app store.
It has now made another u-turn on its decision, stating that it had launched an investigation into the app after receiving complaints from “many concerned customers in Hong Kong” that it put police and residents in danger.
“The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement,” the tech giant said in a statement.
Though the app has been removed from Apple app store, Reuters reported that it continues to work for those who have it already downloaded, while a web version can still be accessed via iPhones.
Apple marks the latest in a growing number of western companies being drawn into the crisis, with China pressuring companies make their opposition to the protests clear.
Gaming manufacturer Blizzard Entertainment kicked professional esports gamer “Blitzchung” out of a competition and docked his prize money after he wore a gas mask with “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” written in Mandarin.
The NBA is also dealing with an ongoing PR battle after China took issue with the Houston Rockets’ manager’s tweet supporting to protests, which we reported earlier this week.