As part of cleaning up the internet, China on Tuesday said it has removed the leading US travel platform Tripadvisor’s app along with 104 other mobile apps from various online stores in the country.
Most of the prohibited apps were operated by local Chinese businesses, but it was not clear why Tripadvisor was blocked by the nation.
“As of Tuesday afternoon, Tripadvisor’s website was still accessible in China,” reports CNN.
In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China said it had withdrawn 105 apps it deemed to be “illegal,” including the US travel giant.
Chinese regulators were quoted as saying that the apps removed were the first of many that would be removed in a wide-ranging “clean-up” of illegal activity-related online content, including obscenity, pornography, prostitution, abuse, fraud or gambling.
Some media reports, however, related the US action on TripAdvisor and its ongoing exercise to ban TikTok, which is owned by Bytedance, based in China.
A US judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the US Department of Commerce from imposing restrictions that it wanted to enforce on TikTok, a short video-sharing site.
The order on Monday came in response to a challenge on August 6 to the executive order of the Donald Trump administration that would have barred US companies from transacting with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, The Verge announced.
In response to strong reaction from the general public to material considered offensive, the authority said it began the campaign on Nov. 5. It said it will continue to monitor apps and delete in a timely manner those in breach of the law.
China tightly monitors its cyberspace and it is not unusual to prosecute transgressions, regardless of whether the app is run by a domestic or international corporation.
If there is a way back for TripAdvisor and the other apps remains uncertain, but penalties are not always permanent. For example, in 2018, after the company classified Macao and Hong Kong as separate nations rather than Chinese territories, the app owned by the hotel group Marriot was blocked for a week.