Global image messaging service Snapchat has scrubbed Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera from its app in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi authorities, the company said Monday.
"We make an effort to comply with local laws in the countries where we operate," a spokesman for parent company Snap Inc. said. The request to block Al-Jazeera's Snapchat presence in the kingdom was made before the weekend, the company told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
According to Snap Inc., the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information found Al-Jazeera's Discover Publisher Story channel to be in violation of local laws. Saudi Arabia and its allies the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt have been boycotting Qatar since June 5 in the region's worst diplomatic crisis in years.
They sealed the UAE's only land border, ordered its citizens to leave and closed their airspace and waters to Qatari flights and shipping. They also demanded that it close broadcasting giant Al-Jazeera. Up to this point, Al-Jazeera's Snapchat channel could still be viewed in the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. Saudi Arabia, with its bulging youth population, is among the world's top users of social media per capita. The internet represents a limited space for freedom of expression in the conservative kingdom.