STORY: Apple has removed Meta Platforms services WhatsApp and Threads from its App Store in China.

The U.S. tech giant said Friday (April 19) it was ordered to take the apps down by the Chinese government, which cited national security concerns.

App tracking firms showed two other foreign messaging apps, Telegram and Signal, were also removed from the store on Friday.

The removal of the apps suggests China's government has grown less tolerant of some foreign online messaging services that fall outside of its control.

It also signals less leeway for Apple in China.

That said, other Meta apps including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger remained available to download as of Friday.

Many other popular apps developed by Western companies including YouTube and X were also available.

It was not immediately clear how WhatsApp or Threads might have caused security concerns for Chinese authorities.

Meta declined to comment and referred queries to Apple.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment on Signal and Telegram.

Representatives for the two companies did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The Cyberspace Administration of China also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.