Saudi Arabia has requested Snapchat to block access to Al Jazeera’s content within its country. Al Jazeera’s news articles and videos now cannot be viewed on the app’s Discover feature.
Saudi Arabia told Snap Incorporated, that the Al Jazeera Discover Publisher Channel violated local laws. Al Jazeera’s Arabic language channel on Snapchat Discover had been available since May 2017.
On September 17, 2017 a Snapchat spokesperson in a statement said, “We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate.”
Saudi Arabia has one of the largest users for Snapchat nearing eight million. While Al Jazeera is a state funded media company of Qatar, which has been the subject of a boycott by many of the Gulf countries. The boycott was incidentally led by Saudi Arabia. One of the specific complaints against Qatar to justify the boycott was the use of Al Jazeera by the country.
Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the decision to remove the channel. According to Wall Street Journal, ‘the conflict is the latest example of a technology company being pinned in the crosshairs of geopolitics as it navigates censorship of content on its platforms.’
Sources: Al Jazeera, CNBC