Google has pulled down the Mitron app, hailed as India's answer to TikTok, from its Play Store.
The app, which allowed users to post short videos, rapidly gained traction (clocking 5 million downloads in less than a month) by riding on the PM's vocal-for-local call as well as a prevailing anti-China sentiment in the country. (TikTok is a Chinese app).
But it soon got caught up in controversies.
A News18 report said that Mitron app’s entire source code, including its full set of features and the user interface, was bought from Pakistani software developer company, Qboxus for $34 (Rs 2,600).
The app was hailed as the brainchild of an IIT Roorkee student by the name Shivank Agarwal. CNBC-TV18 managed to connect with Shivank and his co-founder Anish. However, they declined to comment.
CNBC-TV18 then reached out to Google to get more details about the app's promoters and understand what due diligence the company had done before allowing the app on its Play Store.
Soon, Google red-flagged the app and decided to suspend it for violating its ‘spam and minimum functionality’ policy.
According to the policy, apps should provide users with a basic degree of functionality and a respectful user experience. Another clause of the policy mentions a ‘repetitive content’, which means ‘copying content from other apps without adding any original content or value’ amounts to a violation.
CNBC-TV18’s investigation also found that 5 million users who downloaded the app should be worried about their privacy.
The app remains suspended in the Play Store but the makers can appeal to Google if they believe the app meets basic policy standards.
Update: A previous version of this article said CNBC-TV18 had failed to establish contact with the Mitron app founders. Contact was, however, established later and the article has been updated to reflect the same.
First Published: IST