Snap Inc, owner of Snapchat, removed Qatar-based news service Al Jazeera from its platform in Saudi Arabia amid an ongoing feud between the Gulf states. Snap complies with the local laws in the countries where it operates, a spokeswoman for the company said Sunday.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and transport links with Qatar in June, accusing their gas-rich neighbor of backing terrorism. Among their demands was a request to shut down Al Jazeera television and scale back ties with Iran. Qatar has denied the charges and says the boycott is an attempt to undermine its sovereignty.
Snap was advised by Saudi Arabian authorities that Al Jazeera’s Discover publisher channel violates local laws with other forms of the Qatari news service already unavailable in the country. On Snapchat, Discover channels are set up like mobile magazines run by a media organization, sharing revenue with Snap from ads. The feature continues to be a part of Snapchat in other jurisdictions.
The Wall Street Journal reported the action earlier. In its report, it had also considered the conflict as the latest example of a technology company being pinned in the crosshairs of geopolitics, as it navigates censorship of content on its platforms.