A third-party Android app for community news sharing site Reddit has been banned from the Google Play app store today.
Both the free and pro version of the app, called “Reddit is Fun,” have been removed from Google’s store. The reason is apparently that the apps were considered pornographic.
“I got 2 emails from the Google Play Store telling me my apps, reddit is fun lite and pro, have been banned for sexually explicit material,” said the app’s creator Andrew Shu in a Reddit submission post. “I’m not sure how to go about appealing this. After all it’s true that reddit content includes NSFW (not safe for work) content. Not sure exactly why my app was singled out and the other reddit apps weren’t, though.”
This particular situation is interesting for a few reasons. First of all, it’s hard to see how Google would single out a Reddit app because it contains pornographic media when you could easily say the same thing about any web browser application. Reddit doesn’t actually host any media/content, it just provides people with a way to access it.
The second big thing that’s interesting about this situation is that Google is apparently now policing its recently rebranded app store to keep out the unsavory bits — something rival Apple has been criticized for in the past.
Also, the Android store doesn’t have an approval process like Apple’s App Store, nor is it known for having a strict code of order for developers when submitting apps into the Google App store.
We’re reaching out to both Shu and Google for more details. We’ll update the post with any new information.
Update 3/19/2011 (2:47 p.m. PST): App developer Andrew Shu just responded to my inquiries about the Reddit Is Good app getting banned. He told me that Google learned about his complaints via Reddit (and Google+). Reto Meier from the Android Developer Relations team, contacted him to help guide him through the appeal process.
As far as Shu knows, none of the other third-party Reddit apps on Android have been banned, so it seems like this is an isolated incident. It also means Google probably isn’t on a rampage to get rid of anything that could show people pornographic material.
Update (3:39 p.m. PST): A Google spokesperson responded to VentureBeat with the following statement: “We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies.” It’s also worth noting that the Google Play policy is exactly the same as it was for the Android Store.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.