Apple Takes Down App For New York Times In China After Being Denounced As “Fake News”

130px-Mao_Zedong_portrait125px-Apple-logoWe have been discussing the crackdown on “fake news,” including my view that this has become the latest rationale for various countries to rollback on free speech, including most recently top lawyers in Italy. This includes the question yesterday of whether newspaper like the Washington Post could be charged as the purveyors of “fake news.” Now that speculation appears to be reality in China where Apple took down the App for the New York Times, a move assumed to be part of China’s transparent campaign against what it deems “fake news” — which obviously means real news revealing truths about the authoritarian regime. Critics have charged that Apple has agreed to be the agent of censorship in order to pursue business in China. In the meantime, government controlled newspapers have invited the New York Times to “reflect” on it being barred from the App store. Not surprisingly, the Obama Administration’s effort to limit free speech has not gone unnoticed by the Chinese, who are citing the Obama policies (and new propaganda office) as support for its own legitimacy as an authoritarian system.


The New York Times reports that the banning of the App appears under regulations released in June 2016 called Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services. Those regulations state that apps cannot “engage in activities prohibited by laws and regulations such as endangering national security, disrupting social order and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others.” The cyberspace administration says on its website that apps also cannot publish “prohibited” information. In China, all of those disruptive postings includes telling the truth about the regime, the environment, and other elements of Chinese life.

I have been long critical of the Obama Administration and its checkered history on free speech, particularly in its international policies. The latest example is President Obama’s support for an international crackdown on “fake news,” which has thrilled authoritarian countries. The Chinese have clearly taken notice and now cite the Obama policies as support for its own crackdown with the barring of the New York Times app:

[The New York Times has] lashed out at China regarding freedom of the press. Since 2012, The New York Times has been one of the Western media outlets that has taken the lead in doing so-called investigative reports and churning out sensational stories about sensitive topics in China, trying to wield influence in China’s internal affairs and play a special political role.

Managing information in the Internet era is a challenge that all the countries need to face. In late December, outgoing US President Barack Obama signed an anti-propaganda act into law. The State Department will also establish an anti-propaganda center later this year which is designed to help the US “counter foreign government propaganda from Russia, China, and other nations.”

Just as the torture program under George Bush emboldened extremist countries, the Obama anti-free speech efforts have accomplished the same ignoble end.

Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, “We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”

Of course, curious minds are wondering when “this situation changes” other than China becoming a free nation.

80 thoughts on “Apple Takes Down App For New York Times In China After Being Denounced As “Fake News”

  1. This is a very interesting read. However, I found your personal stance hard to decipher within your talk about the Obama administration. You quoted, “violating the legitimate rights and interests of others.” when it comes to the concept of honest news and writing. I think you’re right in that it is an authoritarian strategic move to spin what Obama said, in order to control what brutal truth reaches the public. My dad has been traveling back and forth from China a lot this year and he describes how bizarre it is the moment he crosses the Chinese border. His phone is immediately different. It’s sad and threatening to international journalism. It would be interesting to see how the increase in “fake news” claims and threats of journalist professionalism will affect the future of freedom of speech.

  2. Watching the Golden Globes (still don’t know why) and Meryl Streep just spouted off HER political views AS IF SHE IS RIGHT and as if we even care. I don’t know where else to post this so I am positing here because I hope I represent more regular people who are SICK of Hollywood actors and celebrities telling us all what THEIR political views are as if we should think what they think and that we need them to educate the country — that voted FOR Trump you morons. Here’s my message to all actors and musicians: act, sing, dance, entertain us, and do what you do, but shut up and stop sharing YOUR POLITICAL opinions with the rest of us who actually don’t give a damn what YOU THINK. SHUT UP Hollywood, just SHUT UP.

  3. The phrase “fake news” is useless for any purpose because it is impossible to define and its application too easily runs afoul of the First Amendment. The law of defamation ought to be sufficient to protect those who suffer harm from truly false statements. For the rest, we must rely on serious journalists and an educated populace.

  4. That’s 2. Orlando and now Ft Lauderdale where the FBI KNEW the shooter was tied to ISIS and did nothing. Obama gets to take the blame for this one too. He is the anti-American fraud of a president who can’t be moving out soon enough so here’s my message to you, don’t let the door hit you on the way out you POS. The people of this country know exactly who Obama is and what his agenda is about, destroying this county, and that’s why Trump is now president. Thank God for that.

  5. Apple is a business so not surprising they would agree to remove the NYT’s app to please the Chinese government. Businesses make adjustments to remain in the market and keep access. Corporations are amoral – it’s all about the profit.

    I must say I love the fact the totalitarians banned the TImes, maybe they’ll do the same to WaPo and other fake newz sites.

  6. As both a Co-founder and Editor of Vol.1, Nr.1 of the University of Baltimore Law Review, controversial legal topics have always been of interest to me. Two of those topics include Constitutional and International Law, but the catch-22 there is (1) whose constitution and (2) whose international law ?

    China recently lost a matter addressing what we may generally call ‘the law of the sea,’ by claiming it’s concept of the 10 dashed line was controlling over multiple treaties addressing navigation of, artifical islands constructed in, and generally who has (exclusive-sic) control over the South China Sea and when the Hague tribunal ruled against China, the Dragon decided to play it’s Trump Card (pun intended) by claiming it would ignore the decision.

    Only this week CNN modified it’s traditional News App for Android, whereby posts to Facebook would only appear privately on the posters Facebook App unless the poster seperately went into the ‘saved’ feature and ‘reposted.’ According to both Verizon Technical Support and Samsung Technical Support, CNN had apparently done this hoping their Android users would install their new video news app with lots more advertising.

    So, the US government has been far from truthful regarding both Non-earthly UFOs and Alien intelligence life forms that either visit or reside (somewhere) on or near (dark side if the moon) planet Earth. But typically it appears that our democracy covertly encourages massive amounts of disinformation to conceal the truth. Thus we have a flip side of freedom of space and multiple technologies to impliment same that the Founding Fathers could never have forseen.

  7. Both NYT and WaPo are both purveyors of Fake News. I love the irony of the Left creating Fake News and then it is being used against them. 🙂

    • Are you claiming that, for instance, all news in the NYT and WaPo is fake, whereas everything from Fox or the National Enquirer is true?

      • How much of it has to be fake? The NYT hasn’t returned Walter Durante’s Pulitzer prize. Does Jayson Blair figure in your analysis? Oh, and CNN. Remember the opinion piece Eason Jordan wrote in the Times, attempting to erase his network’s sins,

        Yes, they willfully carried Saddam Hussein’s water because they valued the tag line, “This is CNN, Baghdad” more than any pretense at the truth. For years.

        Does any of this bother you?

  8. Yes, if the fake news idea leads to the acceptance of govt. censorship by our population, we are utterly defeated as a people.

  9. My own feeling about this entire Russian hacking business is in the 1938 Winston Churchill comment re the Munich Agreement with Hitler:
    “…we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat…”

  10. Shameful that Obama’s politically motivated actions to crack down on fake news (to somehow generate the impression that Trump won because of propaganda spread by the Russians, and not because Hillary was a terrible candidate) is now leading other authoritarian dictatorships to cause suffering.

    • No one has claimed that Trump won ENTIRELY because of the Russians. It was just one of a number of factors — death by a thousand cuts — and even at that, the win was just barely eked out.

      • Yes. Obama politicizes everything. It’s all on him. And Trump won decisively. It was not eeking it out. Even the MSM will admit it.

      • This was a relatively minor incident.

        I remember it because my family is in the restaurant business. I’ve ownedestaurants. Do I think it as politically motivated? No. It was ignorant. Those sneeze guards are in place for a reason.

        What is politically motivated? His current sanctions against Russia. And the thing is, Russia should be sanctioned. I thought so for years.

        http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/07/politics/how-russians-hacked-the-wh/index.html

        But why now? The Russians intruded into the White House email system in 2015, the State Department email system, later the Pentagon. And the Chinese, OPM.

        Obama didn’t do jack until the Russians violated the sanctity of the DNC’s and Podesta’s email. This is the epitome of putting party before country.

  11. What this story shows is how dangerous govt. control over information is to its citizens. It also shows the willing collusion of the large tech companies with authoritarian leaders who wish to silence the truth. That is dangerous.

    This is exactly what USGinc. would like in the US. They are trying to bring this about by propagating the notion that fake news must be addressed and assessed by USGinc as USGinc, is innocent of all wrong doing and has no bias or message they want to convey other than the truth. Yet we know this govt. lies and has lied many times in the past.

    We also know that the tech giants contribute very large sums to politicians and are eager to do the bidding of USGinc, who in turn, is eager to do their bidding.

    What we see in China is what the USG wants here. We are very close to that state of affairs right now. We need to understand the nexus of tech and USGinc. It is the way out of the police state which now grows every more controlling over us until, some day soon, it’s going to completely surround our citizens, just as it does in China.

  12. McCain and his trusty sidekick, Graham, are itching to continue provoking Russia to create turmoil and strife so we can build demand for our main business of selling war materiel. Somehow that must line their coffers. We’re actually lucky that Putin has been restrained in his responses so far.

  13. It’s sad to me that this is, in essence, what many young and very naive people in this country aspire to. The actual state of affairs in China is truly disheartening.

    • If you haven’t read the news, it actually isn’t great anywhere. We have a handful of psychos trying to push a WWIII response to losing an election. I would say a WWIII, cold war scenario is pretty disheartening.

      • I’m disheartened that you evidently believe that the Russians are our true-blue buddies, and that the only possible enemies that the US has are the Democratic party and news organizations like the Times. The entire intelligence establishment constitutes a “bunch of psychos” ????

        What would the Russians have to do, to make you realize they were up to something?

        I am disheartened at how utterly effective their disinformation campaign has worked.

        • The Russians are going to act in their own interests. There is still way more rebuttal on this whole thing than there is consensus. Just keep listening to your MSM, the same ones who sad Clinton’s election was “in the bag.” There are many forces at work right now as regards to Russia, and this election false flag is just one of many. MIC wants their cold war. No new cash in the War on Terror. And it’s become a liability to the government. Ask yourself some easy questions, like “why did our government watch ISIS roll up the highway to Iraq when A-10s could have had some practice runs and that would have been the end of the matter??” I would suggest putting some coffee on and taking a big whiff. Seems like the rest of the world, and non Democrats seem to have a grasp on things. I would suggest it’s you that is selective in what feels comfortable according to information. Didn’t give the shrub and the trinity of black-hearted idiots a pass, and I’m not giving one to this creep and his accomplices.

              • There will be no war. It is only a few days until Exxon is in charge of our foreign policy. Putin wanted Trump in so he and Exxon could drill in Antarctica. Follow the money.

                    • Maybe you are by ignoring the role that both the US and Russian oligarchs played in this sordid episode. A war is very unlikely at this point. Could see a war with China or an invasion of Iran in the future, though.

                  • Truth out has been shown to collaborate with Democrats in propagating false stories on their behalf. This organization frequently stays on message and have had their articles submitted cleared by Clinton’s team. That isn’t to say they can’t write anything of actual value, it’s meant as a warning that they have already shown they will be willing propagandists if called upon to do so. Therefore, one should be aware of these proclivities when evaluating what they write.

                    We have yet to see any real evidence of Russia interfering in the election. (Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose interference is completely clear, yet ignored.) Our intelligence agencies appear to be acting exactly how they acted before the Iraq war–“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” (Downing St. memo)

                    The US and Nato have put troops and military hardware in place, surrounding Russia. The US and Nato is ready for war. Now they need to fix the intelligence. That work is in progress. I am hoping people will not support this madness. Even people who fervently believe, “the Russians did it” should know there are better avenues of dealing with this supposed election interference besides a war.

                    If war is the only response to the matter, much of the entire world should immediately and unequivocally declare war on the US as the US has both interfered with and managed coups by assassination and other methods on multiple nations around this planet.

                    • How much would you care to bet that Russia will not be able to cleverly reassemble the USSR, neutralizing or absorbing the Baltic states and the Ukraine? Or maybe even Finland and Poland, if the US appears weak enough ……

            • Clearly we live in entirely different universes. This supposed “creep” speaks carefully, sometimes eloquently. He does not call people names. He does not demean others. He uses complete sentences and lays out rational arguments. He listens to the advice of others, and often takes it. His wealth and income are an open book.

              On the other hand, Mr. Trump communicates via tweets and slogans. He repeatedly demeans others and calls people names. His policy ideas vary from day to day. He claims to know more about the military than the generals and admirals, more about the economy than any economist or the Federal Reserve bank, more about intelligence matters than the CIA, NSA, FBI etc. He asserts that he can sexually molest a women without any consequence to him. He even asserts that he could shoot somebody in broad daylight, and get away with it. His finances and financial entanglements are a mystery.

              So, clearly we live in different universes.

              • Jay,

                You mistake mannerisms for actions. I’ll agree up front with you that Trump is bad news. He is pro war and pro torture. That makes him exactly like Obama in a very significant way. Obama has begun 8 wars since receiving his peace prize and he has tortured and is still torturing in Gitmo and other black sites. Do not be so easily deceived by outward mannerism. It is only actions that matter. Obama has joked about his drone killing and was glad to share about killing a 16 year old boy, an American citizen. In my book, that makes him creepy in deed.

                In answer to your proclamation about America’s strength and reassembling the USSR by Russia:
                America is already weak. Our economy is in ruins. A nation which is strong does not need to gin up wars to distract from its failing economy, crumbling infrastructure and police state. A vibrant nation abhors war. It is not a first resort, but a last one only.

                  • With neither. They are both bad men.

                    This seems like a silly question because it is already shown that your person of choice, Obama has committed murder and torture.

              • No actually he did not assert that he could shoot somebody in broad daylight and get away with it. If you have to twist a man’s words to make your point, perhaps your point is pointless. FFS.

        • Jay,

          So far the govt.’s propaganda campaign isn’t working so well on our own citizens. (see greenwald’s twitter on this)

          USGinc. quite obviously does want WWIII and they are pumping as hard as they can to get going. USGinc. and Nato forces are in places as I write. This is psychotic.

          Let’s just wave the fairy wand and say that Russia released the e-mails into the public domain (there is no proof of this) No one has disputed that the e-mails were real. Therefore, Russia has interfered with our election by allowing the American public to read accurate and important information. WOW, that is just outrageous, allowing Americans to have accurate information? What is the world coming to?

          So over this, allowing citizens to have accurate and important information, the only possible response is war? War is clearly a psychotic response.

          Clinton interfered directly in this past election. That’s an interference which is clear, indisputable, yet not being looked into by the MSM or the govt.. Why not?

          • Do you really and honestly think that our government wants “WWIII” ? With a nuclear exchange? And millions and millions of deaths ?

            • Jay,

              Millions of deaths have failed to bother this govt. before so I’m not sure why it would bother it now.

              How do you explain the build up of forces taking place, encircling Russia at this very moment? We have special forces, all kinds of military hardware, troops coming in, even England is sending soldiers and weapons to enlarge the process. What is the justification for this?

              • My own opinion — expressed elsewhere here — is that Putin wants to reassemble the USSR. My own opinion is that the Baltic republics, the Ukraine, Poland and maybe even Finland are in serious jeopardy. He is far too clever to do it overtly like Stalin did, but seems to be succeeding via disinformation and propaganda. How would you propose to preserve the independence of these states?

                My further opinion is that, if Putin succeeds in neutralizing the West, the final act will be the military subjugation of these lands. And then China, emboldened by this, will invade Taiwan whilst North Korea does in South Korea.

              • The justification in my view is part of President Obama’s strategy to not go out looking weak and impotent and he has to pound his chest to project the illusion that he is a stronger man than President Putin–who over the past years made Obama look like an amateur.

                Putin made Obama look ridiculous recently after Obama claimed that Russia stole the election and later stated that the US would then retaliate against Russia “at a time and place of our own choosing” (which was almost word for word what President Bush stated after the 9/11 attacks against the terrorists). When the Russians ignored him, Obama then expelled several dozen Russian officials resident in the US. Putin then was seen tending to school children and ignored Obama, inferring he was irrelevant to the Russians.

                So that is what Obama is and will continue to be to the Russians, an effete leader unworthy–in the Russian leader’s mind–of the title of even being an “adversary” to Putin.

                In a fortnight Obama will be gone, his legacy will remain intact. Same as it ever was…

                • But at least Obama has his ‘PR tools’ and ‘stooges’ and mouthpieces in Hollywood like Meryl Streep. Obama even had a letter from him and Michelle included in the celebrity gift bags. Can you imagine Obama or the Democrats ever succeeding without the heavy lifting PR both Hollywood and the MSM do for them?

            • No. The US already took down both the civilian and military grid in Iran through cyber warfare. This did not lead to WWIII. Your candidate, Mrs. Clinton, was instrumental in a coup in Honduras and the take down of Qaddafi. This did not result in WWIII, nor has WWIII ever resulted from the US engaging in multiple, documented coups around the world.

              We have legal means to resolve disputes. This govt. has not even gotten to step one-presentation of accurate evidence for meddling in our election by Russia. The only proven tampering with our election was Clinton’s actions against Sanders. I have heard no calls for WWIII to begin because she actually did tamper with and change the election results to favor her own win.

              • The administration alleges the Russians compromised the integrity of the election process by exposing the facts of the democrat party’s sabotage of the Bernie Sanders campaign through corrupt means and measures to guarantee that Hillary would be elected..

                Yep, it was the Russian’s fault.

                • Well, Darren, how do you react to today’s report outlining Russian involvement in our elections? The intelligence community, to a man and a woman, are all wrong?

                  Yep, it was the Russians’ fault…. (or maybe Russian’s – if you are implying Putin alone)

                  • Well if you consider such claims made in the declassified report–Russian Paid Trolls are apparently interfering with our election process–the administration is confusing propaganda with interference in our election. They even went so far to state that in the past, the Soviet’s infiltrated political parties in the US and only did so to gather information and see what we were up to. But now, they are influencing elections.

                    I am not buying their story. It makes much use of inferences and admits that no voting stations were compromised.

                    And what was brought up, the truth about Hillary Clinton? Good thing the Russians didn’t label her a “Thespian.” The political system in the US might have collapsed.

          • “Allowing Americans to have accurate information”. Bingo.
            These employees of the government seem to forget that they are OUR Civil Servants. We should be able to read ALL their emails. Just like my employer is allowed to read my emails.

            Plus all you have to do is watch Oliver Stone’s Movie SNOWDEN, to realize its game over. They hack each other. But they don’t call it hacking.

        • If the Japanese had been as clever in 1941 as the Russians are now, they would have taken the
          Rising Sun insignia off their airplanes, and conspired with Wendell Willkie to blame the Pearl Harbor attack on Roosevelt and the Democrats …..

  14. Love it! As much news as I try to absorb, I’m afraid interesting tidbits like this I would have missed, had you not blogged it.
    Who is not loving the irony of this?
    Apple signing on with FB and others,
    To be the notorious gatekeepers of news!
    It’s like Japan’s arcade game of the 1970’s: WAC-A-MOLE.
    This has got to feel bad, if they have any empathy left for the public.

  15. I don’t know, with all the recent columns clearly showing unsupported assertions from the NYT and WAPO, I think they pretty much seal the argument that they are indeed fake news. Love the new method of publishing an outright falsehood… then publishing a tiny retraction a couple of days later… “Let the damage be done, then sneak a low-level ‘oooops’ in later.” Just applyn’ the standards. I might be wrong though in how they intended to use this new law here though… you think??

            • How many do you need, Jay? 2? 10? Is there any number of examples that would change your mind that everything MSM has told you is real and true, as long as it was anti-Trump and conservatives?
              Didn’t think so.

              • I have never said or believed that “everything” the MSM says is real and true. What I DO believe is that much more of what the MSM says is real and true, as compared to Fox or Breitbart or even the National Enquirer. Also, when the MSM makes a mistake or is misinformed, they are much more likely to retract or admit error than the right-wing universe, which doubles down on their original stories, no matter what.

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