Recently, the top leading companies Apple and Google both have started to take strong action against coronavirus-related applications.
From a recent report where the application developers who spoke with the news organization say Apple is rejecting any mobile software related to the coronavirus that is not from recognized health organizations or the government.
While, another source reported that Google is not returning any results for coronavirus-related searches in the Play Store, although at this time it is not clear whether Google is also restricting the approval of new applications.
In addition, Apple seems to be capturing new coronavirus-related applications in its manual review process. In a recent interview, a developer said that he received a message from the iPhone manufacturer that said: “Applications with information about current medical information should be sent by a recognized institution”.
While the sources reports show that some well-intentioned mobile applications of independent developers that rely on data and information from the World Health Organization of recognized health institutions are caught in the ban. That is because Apple is apparently evaluating whether applications that provide information related to the coronavirus can be reliable sources of information for the public. In this case, it seems that Apple is restricting those reliable sources only to official health organizations and the government. Apple decl ined to comment for this story.
Furthermore, at this time, few iOS applications related to the virus are appearing in the search results or in the main application classifications, although there are options available and mostly benign. These include a “virus tracker” application from a company called Healthlynked, a COVID-19 application (the disease caused by the new coronavirus) of the Unbound medical resources company, and a Portuguese-language application published by the Brazilian government with Information about the virus.
As for Android, Google seems to be deliberately blocking the search results of the virus and COVID-19, however, we do not know if the company has a total ban on new applications related to the coronavirus.
However, Google has existing policies against applications that deny the existence of “major tragic effects”; applications that “lack reasonable sensitivity or take advantage of a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death or other tragic event”; and applications that seem to “benefit from a tragic event without noticeable benefit to the victims.”
Apple and Google are far from being the only companies that take measures to reduce content that sells wrong information or attempt to exploit the current outbreak for financial gain. While, Etsy has started taking strong action against the coronavirus lists in its market, and Google has followed Facebook to ban ads related to the coronavirus, although criminals are still escaping from cracks.