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Mitron, India's so-called 'TikTok', banned from Google Play store over privacy issues

As per app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the app saw a four-fold jump in downloads to 5.4 million between April and May 25. It even had a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Google Play Store

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | June 2, 2020 | Updated 18:17 IST
Mitron, India's so-called 'TikTok', banned from Google Play store over privacy issues
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Mitron app, which boasts over 5 million downloads, has been taken down from Google Play store for alleged violation of privacy policies (or spam and minimum functionality policies) of Andriod Play Store. The Indian video-sharing app, touted as "alternative" to Chinese social media giant TikTok, hasn't come out with an official statement on the reason behind its removal.

Interestingly, while the 'original' Mitron app has been suspended by Google Play Store, other apps with the same name and features have appeared in the store. One search for 'Mitron' in Google's app store shows apps like 'Mitron' by Socialeee', 'Mitron Indian by Tools LLC', and 'Mitron - India's Short Video Platform' by Vee Developer. Like the original Mitron app, these apps have several reviews, praising them for being an 'Indian' alternative to TikTok.

As per app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the app saw a four-fold jump in downloads to 5.4 million between April and May 25. It even had a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Google Play Store.

Who launched the Mitron app?

The Bengaluru-based app is led by 31-year-old IIT Roorkee alumnus Shivank Agarwal along with a team of five members and was launched in April. He reportedly bought the app's source code from a Pakistani coding company Qboxus, and rebranded before the launch in India. Irfan Sheikh of Qboxus from Lahore confirmed to The Indian Express that Agarwal did reach out the company to buy its source code and launch it as 'Mitron'. He also accepted that "Mitron app has privacy issues as the app developer has not uploaded the privacy policy".

What does Google developer policy say?

Google's spam and minimum functionality developer policy says: "At a minimum, apps should provide users with a basic degree of functionality and respectful user experience. Apps that crash, exhibit other behaviour that is not consistent with functional user experience, or that serve only to spam users or Google Play are not apps that expand the catalogue in a meaningful way."

What'll happen to those who already have the Mitron app on their mobile phones? Tech experts say they may still be able to use it but there are several security vulnerabilities associated with the app.

Also read: Coronavirus curve will not flatten in India if testing not increased: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Also read: Unlock 1.0: Retailers see tepid demand as do's and don'ts play spoilsport

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