Amid criticism for its actions, Google has defended suspending several applications from its playstore in the last few days including one that promised removing Chinese apps and had been downloaded 5 million times.

“…we don’t allow an app that “encourages or incentivises users into removing or disabling third-party apps or modifying device settings or features unless it is part of a verifiable security service”, Google said in a blogpost on Thursday.

“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 behavior that we believe is not in the best interest of our community of developers and consumers. We’ve enforced this policy against other apps in many countries consistently in the past – just as we did here,” Sameer Samat, Vice President, Android and Google Play said.

On Tuesday, citing policy violations, Google Play Store took down Remove China Apps, which claimed to recognise and uninstall popular Chinese apps like TikTok, Helo, CamScanner and ShareIt, as well as some lesser known ones. Earlier Google had taken down another recently popular app Mitron which was a clone of TikTok for similar violations.

Google’s move is being criticised by some.

Brahma Chellaney, geostratigist and Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research said in a tweet, “Google, which has helped to build China’s surveillance state, has removed from its Play Store two popular Indian apps: 1. “Remove China Apps,” which millions of Indians downloaded since its launch 15 days ago so as to boycott Chinese software. 2. “Mitron,” an answer to TikTok.”

Google said in its clarifications today that Google Play was designed to provide a safe and secure experience for consumers while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. “Our global policies were designed with that goal in mind. A number of recent app removals received particular attention in India and we wanted to clarify our actions.”

Google also removed a video app for a number of technical policy violations earlier this week. “We have an established process of working with developers to help them fix issues and resubmit their apps,” it said.

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