Podcast Addict, an Android podcast app with millions of users, was dropped by Google over the weekend because of a list of content about COVID-19. Xavier Guillemane, the app’s creator, told The Verge that the nine-year-old app had been temporarily removed from the shelves and removed from the ad.
The reason for this is that the app violates a new policy for developers that requires any reference to COVID-19 to be “published, commissioned or authorized by an official government entity or public health organization.”
The app developed by Guillemane is capable of subscribing to public podcastRS, but it has no control over it. These include news programmes on COVID-19, talk shows and various programmes. Google told him he needed to fix the problem and then re-published his app under a different name before he could get back on the shelves.
But Guillemane says many other apps, including Google’s own podcast app, have subscribed to and listed the podcasts, but he doesn’t know which offending shows are specifically flagged in Google’s algorithms. His app is free and relies on Google ads to make money, which means Guillemane will temporarily lose revenue.
“It’s my way of making a living, but because of this problem my income has been really bad over the last few months,” he says. Google says it will offer a seven-day appeal period, but that also means I won’t have any revenue during that time. “
Listeners who already have the app on their phone can still access it, but can’t download it again. New users will also not be able to find it in Google Play. If he adjusts the app and somehow removes all COVID content, then he will have to change the app’s name and lose all ratings and downloads. Guillemane told The Verge that when Google suspended the app, his downloads were about to break the 10 million mark.