In case you hadn’t heard, Apple modified one of their apps, AirDrop, so that protesters in China could not use it to easily communicate with one another directly. China is the only country in which the AirDrop app has been modified.
- A Nov. 9 software update included an additional AirDrop feature applying only to iPhones sold in mainland China.
- AirDrop, which allows users to share content between Apple devices, has become an important tool in demonstrators’ efforts to circumvent authoritarian censorship.
- The feature relies on wireless connections between phones, rather than internet connectivity, placing it beyond the scope of internet content moderators.
Protests in China have attracted international attention as the greatest challenge of President Xi Jinping’s premiership and a major knock to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) longstanding authority.
AirDrop, which allows users to share content between Apple devices, has become an important tool in protestors’ efforts to circumvent authoritarian censorship regimes over recent years.
That is because it relies on wireless connections between phones, rather than internet connectivity, placing it beyond the scope of internet content moderators. It uses Bluetooth to form a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between two devices. . .
However, it was limited earlier this month, when a Nov. 9 update to Apple’s global operating system, iOS 16.1.1, included an additional AirDrop feature applying only to iPhones sold in mainland China.
Under the update, iPhones can now only set their AirDrop to receive messages from “everyone” for 10 minutes before switching off. The other settings allow for file-sharing between “contacts only” or “receiving off.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. In an online statement, the company said the software update includes “bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.” . . .
The timing of the release is not insignificant, coming a month after Xi broke precedent and paved the way for his third term as China’s leader.
The move was met by rare displays of public dissent; a precursor to wider demonstrations last weekend.
As Tucker and the Wall Street Journal report, Apple has withdrawn most of their advertising from the Twitter platform, which Musk has said costs them $4 million a day, and has threatened to remove Twitter from their App store, thereby limiting IPhone users from accessing Twitter.
In a series of tweets Monday, Mr. Musk asked if Apple supports free speech and posted a poll asking users whether Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers. Mr. Musk also asked Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in a tweet, “What’s going on.”
“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” Mr. Musk said Monday. In another tweet, he asked: “Who else has Apple censored?”