Google removed the chat app ToTok from the Play Store for the second time, allegedly as a spy tool in the United Arab Emirates. The app was previously removed from Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store in December, and google quietly revived it in January, but the app remains unavailable on the App Store.
The overseas site 9to5 Google noticed that Totok had been dropped again earlier today, after which Google confirmed to the media its decision to drop the app without providing any explanation. According to the Times, Totok was first removed from the App Store on the grounds that it violated a policy of the store (specifically violated policy entries only to the developer).
ToTok is a messaging app that claims to provide “fast, free and secure” messages and calls and has been downloaded by millions of people in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East. The app was one of the most downloaded social apps in the U.S. shortly before it was removed from the Play Store and App Store in December, but a New York Times investigation found it allowed the UAE government to monitor its users.
In a statement released in December, ToTok denied “malicious rumors,” saying, “Not only do we respect privacy and ensure security, but our users are completely free to decide what data to share.” “