Apple named in Chinese porn probe

China's People's Daily has fingered Apple, along with several other companies, in an investigation over X-rated content on Web sites and app stores, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple is again in the crosshairs of the Chinese government.

The iPhone maker has turned up on a list of companies being investigated in China over allegedly offering pornographic material through their Web sites or app stores, The Wall Street Journal said today.

Apple isn't highlighted in the story from the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's Communist Party. Rather, it's just one of many companies named in the probe. In total, the investigation is looking at 198 Web sites and several app stores beyond Apple's.

Based solely on a rough Google-translated version of the People's Daily piece, it's difficult to tell exactly what type of X-rated material has raised China's hackles.

Apple is typically quite cautious about letting any "adult" content get through its app store approval process. And the company is usually quick to bar any app that violates its guidelines.

In January, Apple removed an app called 500px allegedly over concerns that people could use its photo-sharing feature to search for naked bodies. Only after adding a "report" button to flag questionable content and a "17 and up" warning label did the app find its way back into the App Store.

Apple also recently removed an iOS bookstore app from China since it offered electronic versions of books banned by the Chinese government.

This is just Apple's latest run-in with China. The company was recently criticized by Chinese media over its hardware warranty policy, forcing CEO Tim Cook to publicly apologize and announce changes to that policy.

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