Apple and Google Cracking Down on Coronavirus Apps Not Developed by Health Organizations

Apple and Google are cracking down on coronavirus-related apps that have been popping on their respective apps stores. In an attempt to halt the spread of misinformation, both companies are rejecting any apps developed for their mobile storefronts unless developed by reputable health organizations.

This news comes by way of CNBC, who spoke to four developers claiming their apps were denied from appearing on Apple’s App Store. Speaking to CNBC, the developers said they were creating an app based on coronavirus stats, giving users a way to keep up with current news and see live data and maps, all utilizing public data from platforms such as WHO (World Health Organization).

One of the developers, who wished to be unnamed, said any app regarding coronavirus must be developed by an official health organization or government. Another developer, Zachary Shakked, posted screenshots of his rejected app on Twitter with the caption reading: “Spent all day yesterday building a coronavirus app just to get this rejection.”

The response from Apple specifies that the “company names associated with your app do not reflect a recognized institution such as a government entity, hospital, insurance company, non-government organization, or university, which is required for the content in this app by Guideline 5.2.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines.”

Google also appears to be cracking down in a similar fashion. A search for coronavirus on the Google Play App store will come up empty in North America. Google has strict rules in place when developing apps for its app store, citing that those of which “capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic events” will be declined. Google has not made an official statement regarding this subject.