Apple Is Rejecting Coronavirus Apps That Are Not From Health Organizations
Apple has been rejecting coronavirus related apps that are not from recognized healthcare or government institutions.
As per CNBC, four developers confirmed that Apple rejected their apps, which would have allowed users to track the spread of coronavirus. The data for these apps was sourced from sources such as WHO.
Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps, which would allow people to see stats about which countries have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps. Some developers asked not to be named to avoid further complications with Apple’s review process.
The reason for the rejection was that the apps were not developed by an official healthcare or government organization. Apple's written response was that "apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution". To avoid spreading any misinformation during this epidemic, Apple is putting special focus on the data sources as well as the developers behind these apps.
However, despite the restrictions, there are still apps that are using keyword spamming to appear near the top of search results in the App Store. Screenshots shared on social media show how some developers are trying to take advantage and get users to download their games and apps.
Apple seems to be doing a decent job rejecting health advice apps not published by official institutions, but there is deffo keyword spam going on. Plenty of random games show up when you search for “coronavirus”. pic.twitter.com/MD9dqEg4u6
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) March 5, 2020
On the other hand, Google has done a slightly better job by making sure that no developer can take advantage of the epidemic. The company shows no results when users search for "coronavirus" or "COVID-19" on the Google Play Store, which makes it difficult for users to download useful apps related to the epidemic that could help with awareness, tracking and prevention. However, Google has published an editorial with a list of apps like CDC, American Red Cross, Twitter and Doctor on Demand, which could help users stay informed.
While these restrictions are disallowing developers to provide helpful solutions to smartphone users, the reason behind Apple and Google’s decision is understandable as the last thing anyone wants in these tough times is the spread of misinformation and platform abuse.
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