Apple Inc AAPL has removed VKontakte, a popular social networking application in Russia, according to a statement from VK, the company behind the platform.
What Happened: The statement, first noted on The Verge, said that some VK applications were blocked by Apple and unavailable to download and update on the App Store.
The statement said that VK applications already installed on smartphones continued to work.
Russia’s Ministry of Digital Affairs said it was investigating Apple’s “reasons for deleting VK applications and developer accounts,” reported The Verge, quoting state media outlet RT.
VK applications reportedly continue to be available on Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL GOOG Google Play Store on Android.
Apple and VK did not immediately respond to Benzinga's request for comment.
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Why It Matters: Statista data indicates VKontakte was the most used social media platform in Russia as of June 2022. The platform enjoyed a 67 million-strong user base.
Recently, it was reported that the newly launched iPhone 14 will be available in Russia despite the Tim Cook-led company’s exit from the country thanks to a parallel imports scheme.
Russia labeled VK competitor Meta Platforms Inc META as an “extremist” organization in March 2022, reported Reuters.
Meta operates Facebook and Instagram platforms, both of which were banned in Russia in the wake of the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Price Action: On Tuesday, Apple shares closed 0.7% higher at $151.76 in the regular session, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
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