Fact-Check: Google Did Not Delete Crowwe Due to Bad Reviews or Complaints
Mohammed Dahiru Lawal
Claim: The Chief Executive Officer, IPI Group, Adamu Garba, says he asked Google to take down his social media platform, Crowwe App, from Google Playstore because he needed to update the code and that assertions that it was removed due to the complaints by Nigerians was not true.
Verdict: Google does not remove an app on its Playstore based on bad reviews only Apple does so and according to its policy, before Google deletes an App from the Playstore in order to protect users against potentially harmful apps (PHAs), users may receive a.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/2477981?hl=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/2477981?hl%3Den&source=gmail&ust=1624204417341000&usg=AFQjCNGDaUuKIvERzPZGjpjaFdATIgBjkw"> push notification from Google Play Protect informing them of this change and giving them the option to remove the app from their device.
Tech Giant, .google.com/url?q=https://technext.ng/2021/06/14/googles-play-store-deletes-adamu-garbas-crowwe-app-from-andriod-store/&source=gmail&ust=1624204417341000&usg=AFQjCNHQULwxfizgJRtw9Mh9UFEVE6EFXg">Google, on Monday, June 14, deleted Crowwe App days after the federal government suspended Twitter.
Some aggrieved .kossyderrickent.com/2021/06/nigerians-massively-reports-adamu.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.kossyderrickent.com/2021/06/nigerians-massively-reports-adamu.html&source=gmail&ust=1624204417341000&usg=AFQjCNHyhExHivr21TtgAYGAL7FxZJ-rDw">Nigerians reportedly took to Playstore to discredit the app following the suspension of Twitter and touting of the App as a readily available alternative to the banned microblogging platform Twitter in Nigeria.
There has been no official announcement on the reason for the removal, but Google Play policy revealed that the company removes applications that it perceives to have violated its policy.
The Chief Executive Officer, IPI Group, Adamu Garba, says he asked Google to take down his social media platform, Crowwe App, from Google Playstore because he needed to update the code.
In a video on his Facebook page, Adamu Garba II, he claims he was in the process of updating the code live when the activity was flagged by Google so he had to request that it be unpublished so that he can update the codes and republish.
The Crowwe app has been described as an instant messaging and financial transaction app that comes with a digital wallet that helps to transfer and receive money while chatting.
A thorough review of Google Play Policy Center was carried out with particular reference to cases where an app is removed from Google Play Store. Playstore has a ‘Google Play Protect’ which is Google’s built-in malware protection for Android. It protects users against potentially harmful apps (PHAs), which may include apps that have been removed or suspended from Google Play.
It states that if a developer’s app has been removed or suspended from Google Play, its users may receive a push notification from Google Play Protect informing them of this change and giving them the option to remove the app from their device. Users will also have the option to keep the app.
There are not many users of the Crowwe App currently as the total number is pegged at 31,245 but the few known users of the App interviewed during the period of this research said they did not receive any notification from Google Play Protect.
Aliyu Samba, a Journalist, Blogger and Social Media influencer is one of the users of the Crowwe App and he confirms that he did not get any push notification from google.
“Since users did not get the push notifications, it means the app wasn’t deleted by google for any violation,” says Sule Matthew a developer and Founder HOS Tutors Nigeria. “On the other hand, a developer or app owners can takedown (unpublish) their application from the play store using the store presence option and this can be done without notification to the existing users of the application. However, in an event where the application violates security and safety policies of the play store, such an application could be consequentially taken down and in this case, the existing users would get notified on the associated risks through push notification.”
Further checks on claims that Google does not remove apps from its Playstore solely because of bad reviews, reveals that to be true.
Anatoly Sharifulin, CEO and Co-founder at AppFollow, a management platform that enables developers to monitor reviews on their Apps and reply to them, explains this.
“Bad reviews are not a reason for an app to be removed from the Play Store. However, a lot of bad reviews and low ratings left by the app users will negatively affect your conversions, which consequently will affect your app visibility in the Play Store. For instance, this sequence could cause your organic ranking to drop and kill any change to be included in featured collections,” he said.
Abdulraheem Sherif Adavuruku, a software developer says, “unlike Apple IoS where one rating can make them remove your App, Google’s App ratings and reviews are just there for users to see and make their informed choices, but they do not remove an app because of reviews.
When you check their policy you will see that they can remove if there is violation of customer privacy, lack of uniqueness or value in your product or due to malware and other rules but surely not due to ratings.”
It was not reviews/ratings that caused the Crowwe App to be unpublished from Google Playstore and claims by the author that he had requested google to remove the app from Playstore is not false nor misleading.
The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with PRNigeria to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.