Tech giant Google temporarily suspended a popular podcast app from the Google Play Store over the weekend for cataloging Chinese virus-related content. The app didn’t seek out or highlight podcasts on the Wuhan coronavirus, but merely offered all public podcasts like any other podcast app. Google reversed its decision today.
The Verge reports that the popular Android podcast app, Podcast Addict, that has millions of users was suspended for listing coronavirus-related content. The creator of the app, Xavier Guiellemane, stated that Google suspended and removed the ads from his nine-year-old app for violating a new policy for developers requiring any app with a reference to the Wuhan coronavirus to be “published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations.”
Guillemane’s app catalogs public podcast RSS feeds which he is not in control of. This content includes news shows, talk shows, comedy podcasts, and a variety of other programming that mentions the coronavirus. Guillemane stated that Google told him that he needed to address this problem and then republish the app under a different name in order for it to be reinstated.
The app is free and Guillemane relies on ads to make money, so with the app suspended the developer has lost his income. “This is the way I’m making my living, and already because of the current situation, our revenue has been really bad for the past few months,” Guillemane stated.
Google informed Guillemane that it could take up to seven days before he hears any update on his suspension appeal. “It’s not easy to be at the mercy of just some algorithm banishing the application,” Guillemane stated.
Here's the notification I got this morning… pic.twitter.com/UJF20ZnaPw
— Podcast Addict (@PodcastAddict) May 16, 2020
Users that have already downloaded the app can still access it but are unable to redownload. New users will not be able to find the app on Google Play. Even if Guillemane somehow managed to alter the app and remove all coronavirus related content he would still have to publish the app under a new name, losing the ratings and downloads that Podcast Addict has built up over the course of years.
Google reversed the suspension on Tuesday, as tweeted by the Podcast Addict account.
Podcast Addict is back on the Play Store!
The past 3 days have been really stressful, but all the support I got from you either by email, on Twitter or FB helped a lot.
So thanks a lot for all your help and support!
— Podcast Addict (@PodcastAddict) May 19, 2020
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org