What you need to know
- Google deleted Remove China Apps from the Play Store this week.
- The company has come out to publicly defend its decision.
- The app would have encouraged behavior that Google sees as not in the best interest of the Play Store's community.
Google earlier this week pulled an app "Remove China Apps" from the Play Store. The app was created to help users identify apps that came from Chinese developers or organizations and delete them, potentially inflaming anti-China sentiments.
Responding to the online controversy around the deletion, Google's Play Store team came out to publicly explain the move on its blog:
We also recently suspended a number of apps for violating the policy that we don't allow an app that "encourages or incentivizes users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service". This is a longstanding rule designed to ensure a healthy, competitive environment where developers can succeed based upon design and innovation. When apps are allowed to specifically target other apps, it can lead to behavior that we believe is not in the best interest of our community of developers and consumers. We've enforced this policy against other apps in many countries consistently in the past - just as we did here.
Google notes here that apps targeting other apps specifically can lead to disruptive sentiment, something which already caught the attention of the Chinese media.
The Google Play Store, which approved the anti-China app, is also accountable. "It seemingly reflects the double standards of Western firms," said Liu.
Fu Sheng, chairman and CEO of Chinese mobile app company Cheetah Mobile Inc, posted on his social media account on Monday, "How could the app be put in the store? Doesn't it violate Google's policy?"
With Google's post, that question is definitively answered.