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Google scraps Mitron and Remove China apps from Play Store

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The Mitron app was publicised as an alternative to TikTok in India and had raced to 5 million downloads within a month with a 4.7 rating before it was scrapped from Play Store.

Google has removed the Mitron and Remove China Apps from its Play Store for policy violations.

Google red-flagged the Mitron app and decided to suspend it for violating its ‘spam and minimum functionality policy’, according to a report. The Mitron app, which enabled publishing short videos, was publicised as an alternative to TikTok in India and had raced to 5 million downloads within a month with a 4.7 rating before it was scrapped from Play Store.

“We don’t allow apps that merely provide the same experience as other apps already on Google Play,” Google stated in the ‘Repetitive Content’ clause in its ‘spam and minimum functionality’ page. “Apps should provide value to users through the creation of unique content or services,” it added.

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The Remove China Apps violated Google’s Deceptive Behavior Policy according to a report by TechCrunch. The policy does not allow apps that encourage or incentivise users to remove or disable other apps or modify device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service. Remove China Apps guided users to identify and delete apps that it identified as being of Chinese origin.

The removal of the Mitron App comes after the founder of a Pakistani software development firm, Qboxus confirmed that the source code of the app was purchased from them and not developed in India as it was believed. Shivank Agarwal from IIT Roorkee was given the credit for developing the app but Qboxus said that the developer bought the code for $34 (approx Rs 2,556) from the marketplace CodeCanyon and just changed the name without any modification to the code. The app did not have any privacy policy and its developer website link led to a blank page.

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OneTouch AppLabs, the developer of the Remove China Apps, confirmed on Twitter that Google has suspended the app and thanked people for their support.

These apps had become popular after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 'vocal-for-local' call and amid the India-China border dispute.

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Remove China Apps, which was a top free app and was rated 4.9, had crossed 5 million downloads in Play Store. It It drew much attention in the Chinese media. The app makers claim to have been inspired by the call for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or self reliant India, and Sonam Wangchuk’s video message to boycott Chinese products. Wangchuk was the man who inspired the central character in the Bollywood movie 3 Idiots played by Aamir Khan.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 2:19:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/google-scraps-mitron-and-remove-china-apps-from-play-store/article31741654.ece

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