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Google bans Podcast Addict app after 9 years for letting users play podcasts that reference COVID-19
By Tom Parker Posted 7:38 pm

Google says it needs to be authorized by official government entities or public health organizations.

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One of the most popular podcast players on the Google Play store, Podcast Addict, has been suspended on the grounds that some of the podcasts it indexes reference the coronavirus but aren’t approved by government entities or public health organizations.

According to the now-removed Google Play store listing for Podcast Addict, it was the number one podcast app on Android with over 9 million downloads and over 2 billion podcast episodes downloaded through the app.

It had over 500,000 user ratings with an average rating of 4.7/5 and had been on the Google Play Store for more than nine years.

Podcast Addict was one of the most popular podcast apps in the Google Play store (Wayback Machine – Google Play store – Podcast Addict)Google told Xavier Guillemane, the developer of Podcast Addict, that the app had been removed due to its references to COVID-19:

“Pursuant to Section 8.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement and the Enforcement policy, apps referencing COVID-19, or related terms, in any form will only be approved for distribution on Google Play if they are published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations.“

In order to get the app restored, Google is asking Guillemane to remove references to COVID-19 and keywords related to COVID-19 from the app.Google told Podcast Addict the app was removed for referencing the coronavirus without authorization from official government entities or public health organizations (Twitter @PodcastAddict)Podcasts player apps such as Podcast Addict connect users with podcasts but don’t actually host the content.

The way podcast apps serve up this content is similar to how web browsers connect users with websites but don’t actually host any of the content on those websites.

What Google is asking of Podcast Addict would be comparable to Google asking a web browser app to remove references to all the websites and social media posts that reference the coronavirus unless the reference comes from an official government entity or public health organization.

Additionally, Google isn’t applying these same rules to its own podcast app – Google Podcasts.

Searching for “ coronavirus”or “ COVID-19” in Google Podcasts returns podcasts from mainstream media outlets that aren’t endorsed by government entities or public health organizations.
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