Apple has started cracking down on COVID-19 and coronavirus related apps on the App Store that are not from recognized health institutions and government bodies. The company is presumably making this move to prevent the spread of misinformation among users related to the virus outbreak which can be further worsened by a third-party app showing inaccurate data.
Apple is taking down apps from third-party developers that are making use of reliable sources like the World Health Organization as well though. The company wants apps from only recognized bodies on the App Store related to current medical information.
Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple rejected their apps, which would allow people to see stats about which countries have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps.
Apple has even updated its App Store policy with a new clause stating that apps in “high-regulated” fields like healthcare, financial services, etc. must be submitted by a “legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.”
Some shady developers could also try and release spammy apps related to coronavirus and take advantage of the situation to make money. Thus, Apple’s moves make sense. Due to the crackdown, search results on the App Store for coronavirus or COVID 19 now return fewer results. Apple is not the only one to ban third-party COVID-19 apps on the App Store though. Google has also cracked down on coronavirus apps on the Play Store and banned search terms like “coronavirus” and COVID-19.”[Via CNBC]