Apple has recently removed Russia's largest social media network from the App Store, the Russian company that owns the app revealed.
According to Russian conglomerate VK, its apps were blocked by Apple from the App Store. One particular app, VKontakte, is the country's largest social network with millions of downloads from the App Store, The Verge noted.
In a statement from the Russian company, it claimed that "some VK applications are blocked by Apple" on Sept. 26, 2022. It added, however, that it has no plans to stop working on the said apps for the iOS; rather, it said it will "continue to develop and support iOS applications."
The Russian government, since Russia attacked Ukraine, have decided to remove some American social media networks from the Russian internet. These include popular social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The U.S. government, along with other governments, on the other hand, sanctioned individuals and businesses affiliated to the Russian government. These include Vladimir Kiriyenko, the CEO of VK Group and an ally to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Apple's recent actions to remove VK's apps from the App Store, then, should not come as a surprise since the iOS creator is an American company based in Cupertino.
Announcement from VK
In a statement via Interfax (translated via Google), VK's applications that have already been installed in Apple devices will continue to work, but some features might not work as intended.
According to the company, the "main functionality" will continue to work as they did before, but features such as notifications might not work. Furthermore, other features such as payments might not work as well.
The company added that its specialists are working to fix the matter, although it did not give any specifics. For the meantime, it is directing users who do not have the Vkontakte app on any iOS device to use the mobile version of the site (m.vk.com) or the desktop version for those who are using Macs and MacBooks.
Currently, VK.com is the fifth most popular website in Russia, according to SimilarWeb. This includes its apps such as Mail.ru, Mail, Mail.ru Cloud, VK Music, and Youla classifieds.
The Russian Ministry of Digital Affairs asked Apple as to the reason why the said VK apps have been removed from the App Store, but as of writing the Cupertino tech giant has yet to respond. The ministry told state-run media RT that it is investigating the matter.
Apple's decision to remove VK's apps from the App Store caused the Russian company's shares to drop by more than 20% on Monday. The shares bounced back the following day, regaining 7.5% on Tuesday.
The Russian company-owned apps continue to be available on the Google Play Store for Android device users.