KEY POINTS

  • Apple rejects coronavirus apps that are not from credible sources
  • Google has released a list of recognized apps for any coronavirus-related information
  • Steps are being taken by major tech companies to curb the spread of coronavirus myths and misinformation

Apple and Google are taking down apps related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The tech giants are removing apps that aren't recognized by hospitals or governments.

According to a CNBC report, Apple has rejected apps developed by four developers. These apps show stats about which nations have confirmed coronavirus cases. Some of these apps would take data from reliable sources like World Health Organizations (WHO).

A developer informs CNBC that an employee from Apple communicated over the phone that anything concerning coronavirus must be released by the government or an official health body.

Apple is being extra careful while evaluating any coronavirus-related apps to prevent the spread of false information. A developer has received a written communication stating that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution.”

Apple investigates where the data has been collated from. Moreover, it also takes into account the developer’s credentials. There are no spams on the App Store due to these restrictions imposed by the company. This move has come after several tech companies continued to battle misinformation being spread on their platforms.

“Right now the technology industry is working very hard to ensure the platforms are not being used to provide people with false or, even worse, dangerous information about the coronavirus,” Morgan Reed, president of the App Association said. He added that they are witnessing pressure from inside and outside to stop advertisements and applications before they cause any harm.

Meanwhile, Google has compiled a list of certified apps that Android users can use to get information about coronavirus. The list includes apps like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), First Aid – American Red Cross, Doctor On Demand, News360, Medical ID (Free): In Case of Emergency and Twitter. This list is updated regularly.

Google Play doesn’t allow apps to appear that “lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.”

Apple says it sees a slower-than-anticipated return to normal conditions in China -- where in both manufactures and sells products -- due to the coronavirus epidemic Apple says it sees a slower-than-anticipated return to normal conditions in China -- where in both manufactures and sells products -- due to the coronavirus epidemic Photo: AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI