Google Playstore has apparently taken down the popular UC Browser app for engaging in unethical practice of acquiring new users and purportedly sending sensitive data to China. Netizens were befuddled when they realised that the Playstore had mysteriously taken down UC Browser from its list.
On top the media reports about data sharing, Redditors also said that the Alibaba Group-owned web browser was posting ads in an unethical to prompt people into downloading other apps. Since the app has more than 500 million users (100 million in India), it has garnered attention for misleading its users.
In an official statement after the Google ousting, the company said: “We were informed by Google Play about temporary removal of UC Browser from the Play Store for 7 days, beginning 13 November 2017, under the reason that a certain setting of UC Browser is not in line with Google’s policy. We have conducted an urgent internal investigation and fixed the problem. The new version has been uploaded on Google Play’s Developer Console and is awaiting evaluation. We will actively cooperate with Google Play for any concern caused by this unintentional error.”
Indian media have reported that UC Browser has been sending data of its users to China without their consent. While some said that Google also collected information from all its users, it was negated by the allegations claiming that the company sells the information to third parties.
Google, when reached for comment on the development, said only that all apps on the Google Play must comply with their service.
UC Browser became popular during the pre-4G cost-effective data plans when it would optimise internet for its users to minimise data wastage while on the internet. This pocket-friendly mobile web user was downloaded widely for this sole purpose.