The shocking development is that on Thursday, the popular mobile wallet application MobiKwik was briefly removed from the Google Play store. Reason: The app displays ads for the Aarogya Setu app and links to the ads.
Displaying ads is not a move to make MobiKwik fall into the crosshairs, but the fact that the ads carry a link to the government ’s contact tracking application has led Google to delist MobiKwik from the Play Store. According to Google, MobiKwik violates advertising policies by adding external links to applications.
Google said in an email to MobiKwik developers that MobiKwik did not comply with the Developer Program Policy, which prohibits the use of applications with deceptive and destructive advertising.
MobiKwik CEO’s reaction
In a tweet to Google, Bipin Preet Singh, CEO MobiKwik, stated that the advertisement was related to Aarogya Setu and the link decision was made according to RBI’s instructions. In addition, Singh said this is in the public health interest.
“Hey @GoogleIndia @GooglePlay, because we have a link to the Aarogya Setu app, we removed the @MobiKwik app from the Play Store. The regulator (@RBI) asked us to do this, and understand that it is in the interest of public health. You have too much power! “, Singer tweeted.
According to reports, the Reserve Bank of India contacted MobiKwik on April 15 and asked them to include a URL to facilitate the download of the Aarogya Setu application. The e-mail wrote: “The URL link mentioned in the tagline can be made a hyperlink, and you can click to download.”
After receiving a notice from Google regarding violations of advertising policies, MobiKwik decided to remove the link to Aarogya Setu from its application, allowing it to re-enter the Play Store.
What is Google ’s advertising policy?
Google updated its advertising policy in 2016, which explicitly requires developers to add an “ad” label to apps that contain ads. Developers must declare whether their application contains ads, whether they are display ads, native ads or banner ads. But this does not answer how to treat the banner link of the Aarogya Setu app as an advertisement, and how other platforms with similar changes will be affected by this.