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Apple named in Chinese government probe of porn apps

April 17, 2013|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • An Apple Store in Beijing.
An Apple Store in Beijing. (Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg )

Apple, known for its strict stance against pornography in the U.S., is being investigated for spreading porn in China.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant was named in an article appearing Wednesday in China's People's Daily newspaper for allegedly providing pornography in the country, where the government actively censors such material to keep it off of its Internet.

This is Apple's second run-in with China's state-run TV and newspapers since the start of 2013. A few weeks ago, Chief Executive Tim Cook had to post an apology on the company's Chinese website, promising better warranty and repair policies for its Chinese users after coming under criticism by the country's media.

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This time, the article did not run prominently in the newspaper and did not focus on Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, being linked to such an investigation is of concern for the iPhone maker, which is hoping to cash in on the massive Chinese consumer market.

The investigation is looking at nearly 200 websites and apps that are allegedly offering obscene material, according to the Chinese news reports.

Apple has strict policies against including pornographic apps in its smartphone and tablet App Store.

In 2010, for example, the company's late co-founder, Steve Jobs, responded to a user email about including pornographic apps along with parental controls by telling the user that "folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone."

More recently, Apple approved an app for Playboy magazine that notably excludes nude images.

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