Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many social platforms have taken measures to minimize misinformation or scams relating to the source and spread of the coronavirus. This led Twitter and Facebook to write and apply new guidelines on the subject. Google has also embarked on the battle to eradicate certain services or information that could potentially be dangerous for users. Whether on the side of personal data or false information.
With regard to its policy on the Play Store, the firm indicates that “any application referring to COVID-19, or related terms, in any form whatsoever in its metadata, will only be approved for distribution in the Play Store if it is published, ordered or authorized by official government entities and public health organizations”.
In part of Google’s new measure to safeguard this rule. The company accidentally removed a popular Podcast application, namely Podcast Addict, from the Play Store. In 2012, Xavier Guillemané launched this French service application to bundle podcasts from different platforms in a single space. Prior to its suspension from the Google Play store, the application had 5 million+ users on its platform.
Here’s the notification I got this morning… pic.twitter.com/UJF20ZnaPw
— Podcast Addict (@PodcastAddict) May 16, 2020
Apologies to Podcast Addict fans today. We are still sorting out kinks in our process as we combat Covid misinformation, but this app should not have been removed. Carry on with your podcasts, folks! 🙇♂️
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) May 19, 2020
Podcast Addict lets you listen to podcasts, audiobooks, radio, live feeds from various sources, including YouTube, SoundCloud, and RSS feeds. Some podcasts that you could connect to through the service touched on the topic of COVID-19. Hence this led to its accidental suspension. Podcast Addict announced the ban via an official tweet, immediately providing the link to download the APK file from other sources.
The service’s Twitter account also shared a message informing them of the Google Play Store‘s decision. Mentioning that, if Google removed the Podcast Addict application from the Play Store. It was due to the app collection of podcasts evoking the coronavirus topic.
Google reinstates Podcast Addict app
After numerous exchanges from the developer of the app with Google, Podcast Addict is finally back on the Play Store. Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android, apologized on behalf of Google for this error. He confirmed that it was a side effect of Google’s Covid-19 strategy to stop false information. Google, in reduced staff work at present, likely had to set up an automatic moderation tool that led to this type of errors.