Google has pulled down an app from its Google Play store that helped users identify and remove apps of Chinese origin.
Before the application was removed the app clocked over 50 lakh downloads in just over two weeks of its launch.
It is the second viral app from India to be pulled from Google Play in a matter of days. Google has earlier removed Mitron, a TikTok clone.
Google said that the app developed by Jaipur-based OneTouch AppLabs violated ‘Deceptive Behaviour policy’. The policy highlights various things that apps listed on Google Play can’t do but one specific point is relevant in the case of “Remove China Apps” story. Google says it doesn’t allow “apps that mislead users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features.”
Remove China Apps allowed users to identify and remove apps that were of Chinese origin on their smartphones. While it was able to identify popular apps, including the likes of TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, and CamScanner, from Chinese developers, it didn’t detect apps that come pre-installed on phones from Chinese manufacturers. Remove China Apps was free and fairly easy to use, and didn’t include any advertisements.
However the developer — OneTouch AppLabs claimed to be developed for “educational purposes,” it was capitalising on the anti-China sentiment prevalent across India right now.
The anti-China sentiment in the country has been sparked by the novel coronavirus pandemic, India-China border dispute, and more. A survey recently indicated that 67 percent of Indians hold China responsible for the spread of COVID-19.
The app made its debut on the Google Play store on May 17. It was downloaded over 5 million times before getting pulled. It was not available on Apple App Store for iPhone users. Android is the prevalent mobile operating system in the country and as per StatCounter, it is used by 95 percent of mobile phone users in the country.
Remove China Apps’ removal comes soon after Google had pulled the Mitron app from Google Play store. Mitron was a clone of TikTok that also benefitted from anti-China sentiments and also saw lakhs of downloads.