The popular Android app, Podcast Addict, has been suspended from the Google Play Store due to COVID-19 content on the platform. Google bots pulled the app after new rules were introduced to curb the spread of fake news and misinformation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a new set of rules laid out by Google, apps referencing COVID-19 will be banned from appearing on its Play Store unless they are backed by official organizations. That means being published, commissioned or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations. This leaves podcast apps in a bit of a tight spot. Naturally, there are news and current affairs podcasts that reference the virus. Given the scale of the outbreak, you'd be hard-pressed to find a podcast that does not address the current global health crisis in some form or another. However, it appears that Google's latest policy is taking a strong line on the spread of fake news.
Podcast Addict tweeted out the notification it received from Google over the weekend. It would seem that Google crawlers are reading the metadata for podcasts and acting swiftly if COVID-19 content is being published. Whilst this may seem harsh on the podcast app, curbing the spread of dangerous health advice is clearly the priority at Mountain View.
Here's the notification I got this morning... pic.twitter.com/UJF20ZnaPw— Podcast Addict (@PodcastAddict) May 16, 2020
The app developer quickly Tweeted out a link to an official APK file for the Podcast Addict app, allowing users to sideload it without the need for the Google Play Store. In-app purchases are not possible until Google restores the app to the official app store, however.
Meanwhile, if you have been unable to download Podcast Addict and are looking for a good alternative, you can check our list of the best podcasts app at the link below:
As things stand, the Podcast Addict app is still suspended from the Google Play Store, and will remain so until the result of an appeal can be decided. We'll keep you posted.