In response to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the UK governing body, Apple took off the Russian social media network app VKontakte and the webmail provider app Mail.ru from the Apple App store. These apps have been out of Apple’s App store for about three weeks now. According to The Guardian, Apple has finally restored the two apps to the App store.
The reason for removing the apps is something most people already know. But the reason for restoring is still not known yet. These two apps were developed in Russia to serve as home grown alternatives to Facebook and Gmail. Apple had to pull these apps down following series of sanctions. The UK Government imposed on a lot of executives at Gazprombank, a Russian bank that has ties with VK.
Apple Removed The Apps From The App Store Because They Are Linked To Sanctioned Executives
It was well noted that, these apps were distributed by some developers. These developers were under the control of most of these parties that were sanctioned by the United Kingdom. So, Apple had to take them down due to their Associations with those under the sanctions.
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As hinted by monitoring project Apple Censorship. The apps appeared on the Global app store on Monday 17th of October 2022. Statement by the project director Benjamin Ismail reads:
The only thing we can say for sure is that, once again, Apple implements its App Stores policies in total opacity, thinking it will not be held accountable for its actions. While we are glad to see those apps restored, as some activists and members of civil society organizations were still using them when they were removed, we condemn Apple for its continuous, erratic, and non-transparent way of managing content in the App Store.
Before Apple removed these apps from the app store, both VKontakte and Mail.ru were part of the apps that Apple was mandated to recommend to new owners of iPhones. Anyone who purchased a new iPhone in Russia would usually see these two apps during the initial setup as a recommended download app.
Why The Apps Reappeared On App Store? Apple Is Yet To Comment
Apple has not made any official statement with respect to the reappearing of the two Russian owned apps on the App store. Ones there is any update to this, we let the news out.