Snapchat takes down Al Jazeera's channel in Saudi Arabia

Snapchat blocks Al Jazeera in Saudi ArabiaREUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Snapchat has blocked Al Jazeera's content in Saudi Arabia in order to comply with local government regulations, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The social media company said the Saudi Arabian government asked it to take down the widely followed Qatari broadcaster's Discover Publisher Channel as it violated local laws. It is still unclear what the violations were.

"We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate," a spokesperson from Snapchat said in a statement late on Sunday (17 September).

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The move marks the latest example of a technology company being affected by a geopolitical dispute. In August, Apple removed popular Iranian apps from its app store due to US sanctions against Iran, according to a report in The New York Times.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain have had a falling-out with Qatar for months now. In fact, earlier this year, these countries accused the nation of backing terror-related activities.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first time Saudi Arabia, which is said to have one of the most restrictive media environments, has targetted Al Jazeera. Back in June, the four Arab states documented a set of 13 demands to lift sanctions against Qatar. One of those demands, which were later withdrawn, called for a complete shutdown of Al Jazeera and all of its affiliates.

With bolstered smartphone ownership, Saudi Arabia continues to be one of the biggest markets in the Middle East for social media, but local restrictions could sometimes place companies like Snapchat in a difficult position.

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