Hailed as a popular Indian alternative for Chinese TikTok, Mitron violated ‘spam and minimum functionality’ policy, tech giant Google confirmed to TNIE, while the other app was suspended for violating Google ‘deceptive behaviour’ rules.
“Our global Play policies are designed to provide a safe and secure experience for our users while also giving developers the tools they need to succeed. When violations of these policies are identified, we have an established process of working with developers to help them find remedies,” a Google spokesperson for the Mitron App told this publication.
While this is a long standing policy and has been enforced against many other apps in the past, the temporary suspension of these two apps from Play Store grabbed attention particularly now because of the rising tension on the Indo-China border as well as the due to the pandemic that origninated from China’s Hubei province.
Both these apps rose in popularity after anti-China sentiment gained ground. Mitron had been downloaded by at least five million Indian Android users, while more than one million people in India have installed the Remove China Apps on their phone with an aim to delete Chinese apps present on their smartphone.
Owned by Shibank Agarwal, a student of IIT Roorkee bought the source code of the Mitron app from a Pakistani coding company Qboxus and rebranded the app as ‘Mitron’ before launching it in India. The app violated on multiple vulnerabilities such as ‘repetitive content’ or an app without adding any original content or value’ that amounts to a violation of Google’s policy.
However, the developers can resubmit the app after fixing issues. "We have an established process of working with developers to help them fix issues and resubmit their apps. We've given this developer some guidance and once they’ve addressed the issue the app can go back up on Play," said Android and Google Play vice-president Sameer Samat.
Samat also clarified the rationale behind taking down Remove China Apps from Play Store. "We don’t allow an app that encourages or incentivises users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service," he said, indicating the app may remain suspended.
According to the developer -- a Jaipur-based start-up OneTouchAppLabs --- the Remove China Apps, doesn’t in any way “promote or force people to uninstall any of the application(s)” and is developed “for educational purposes only. Users of the app, however, pointed out that the app, as the name suggests, allows users to delete all apps on their phones that are developed in China. It scans the user’s device and lists the apps with China as their origin and allows users to decide which app they want to remove.
Interestingly, if you have the Remove China Apps application already downloaded on your phone it will still work for you even now.