Renowned Android podcast app ‘Podcast Addict’ has this weekend been removed from the Google Play Store because the app contains references to COVID-19.
The app allows users to add podcasts from multiple search engines, including the iTunes podcast library and custom URLs. The developer points out that Google’s own podcast app and the Youtube app also provide access to non-governmental COVID-19 content in the same manner.
The developer has been asked to provide proof they are authorised by a government to provide coronavirus information or to be submitted to the store as a new app which actively blocks any reference to COVID-19 related keywords.
The developer, based in California, pointed out that even if this was possible, they would lose nine years of downloads and ratings associated with the app.
Google AdMob has also stopped providing ads to the free version of the app following its suspension from the Play Store, depriving its developer of ad revenue from their existing user base.
The issue is currently the top thread on the r/android subreddit with over 8,000 upvotes and over 790 comments from distraught users.
I've seen you explain how podcast feeds work to lots of ignorant people over the years… Never thought you'd have to explain to Google how content finds its way into a podcast app!! @Google @GooglePlay— Alex Cross (@VivicaGsy) May 16, 2020
Fuseboxed has asked Google’s press team for a comment on the suspension.
The app previously had its AdMob revenue suspended in October 2019 when Google took issue with the “health and sexuality” podcasts listed, before admitting there was no violation and restoring the ads.
Ads were briefly removed again in April 2020 for “Copyrighted material: unauthorized file sharing”, then within a day, Google admitted there was no violation and restored the ads.
Xavier Gullemane, the app’s developer, can be supported through a Patreon page.