Amid the ongoing civil unrest in the United States and in certain parts of the globe, the call to end racial discrimination is strong. Protests are being held wherein people call for peace and understanding, but are instead met with violence from authorities. As such, an app on Android's Play Store recently prompted Google to take action after it promoted a controversial function. Remove China Apps – as the name implies – tasks users to delete apps its has flagged for its Chinese connections.

The app's developer, OneTouch AppLabs, is based in Jaipur, India. Upon launching it, the program will then scan the smartphone's system for any apps that are associated with China. A report from Naked Security notes that it targeted apps such as UC Browser from UCWeb, TikTok from ByteDance, and even Zoom, which supposedly communicated with Chinese servers. Once the user deletes the ones tagged, the app then displays a message that says "You are awesome."

Others quickly pointed out that border tensions between India and China have prompted activists to call for Indians to boycott Chinese products. Aside from Remove China Apps, another app identified as Mitron was likewise taken down from the Play Store. However, the reason behind the latter's removal appears to be related to the code it uses, which was allegedly just a reworked copy of TicTic.

Vice President of Android and Google Play Sameer Samat stated: "We have an established process of working with developers to help them fix issues and resubmit their apps. We've given this developer (of the video app) some guidance and once they've addressed the issue the app can go back up on Play."

Samat later added: "This is a longstanding rule designed to ensure a healthy, competitive environment where developers can succeed based upon design and innovation. When apps are allowed to specifically target other apps, it can lead to behaviour that we believe is not in the best interest of our community of developers and consumers."

Google tightens political ad policy
Google says it is changing how it handles online ads to avoid the spread of misinformation. Photo: AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE

Military forces from India and China both clashed earlier in May along one of their disputed borders in the Himalayas. In 1962 the two sides also figured in a scuffle, with more reported in 2017 and 2019.