The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has turned its attention towards apps, pulling nearly 8,000 from digital stores for ‘malicious’ activity.
The regulator has already deleted thousands of apps deemed to feature inappropriate material, under a campaign launched last September to remove “malicious mobile apps that infringe on users’ rights”.
Reuters reported that operators had been instructed to block access to 7,873 apps that had been identified as malicious, either for scamming users out of money or stealing their data. These included games which duped customers into paying by getting them to register details, as well as apps which served spam advertisements.
While the measures can be seen as protective, Reuters noted that President Xi Jinping is increasingly exercising control over the internet for apparently political reasons, with the Communist Party of China tightly restricting social media access to quell dissent.
Additionally, the government’s justification for blocking certain apps or content is somewhat subjective, with around 9,300 apps and 700 websites pulled last week on the grounds of delivering “vulgar and lowbrow content that was damaging to the internet ecosystem”. Among them was Tencent’s news app, Tian Tian Kuai.