In an unexpected move, China has blocked the Twitch.tv website and removed the application from the Apple App Store since Thursday, BBC reported. Twitch has confirmed the block but didn’t say why the authorities censored the service.
The Chinese government seems to have issued a censorship order for Twitch streaming in the country. As of now, neither the Chinese government nor Twitch or its parent company Amazon have said why the block occurred.
The move came after Twitch became the third-most popular free app in the Chinese iOS store. The app saw this surge in popularity last month when the Asian Games hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia featured video gaming competitions for the first time. Chinese eSports fans started using Twitch after the Chinese state-run media wouldn’t show those competitions.
China’s History of Blocking Foreign Media Services
China has a long history of frequently blocking not just foreign online websites, but especially media services. The Chinese government doesn’t seem to want to allow its citizens to access media without heavy restrictions being applied to it first.
Other foreign platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google’s Play Store and other services are also censored in the country. Disney and Apple’s Chinese media services were also blocked back in 2016.
Another issue is that the Chinese government’s enforcement of media censorship rules have been quite inconsistent, which has given foreign investors concerns and may even prevent them from investing into the country in the future.