Developer of the popular video media center app Mizuu had a rough morning after waking up to find his app abruptly removed from the Play Store. News of the removal was posted on Mizuu’s Google+ page after finding an email from Google explaining that the reason behind the take down had to do with the app’s violation of Google’s recently updated sexually explicit policies. But how is that even possible given the app is little more than a media center app, only filling in movie covers and info taken from a users’ own media library? One word: porn.
Apparently, Mizuu pulls images and descriptions from themoviedb.org, an online repository of movie information which just so happens to include — you guessed it — porn. That means someone with a vast wealth of adult movies would cause Mizuu to essentially download sexually explicit images, a possible violation of Google Play’s terms of service. Mizuu already knew this, which is why they included the option to disable adult content which is already blocked by default.
Mizuu made a point about their app being like a web browser which can be used to view sexually explicit material. Sounds to us like a Google algorithm basically scanned apps in the Play Store for anything describing “adult content” in their code, then removing the app and firing off one of their rejection emails. We’re not saying Google was in the right, but it doesn’t help that the developer can’t actually get in touch with an actual human to get additional feedback/clarity and find out exactly what they could do to save the app.
Without any sort of appeals process, Mizuu says they’ll simply attempt to re-upload another version with a different package name to the Play Store, but we expect it wont be long before Google once again comes in with the ban hammer. Of course, everyone who already purchase the app gets left high and dry (probably the real losers in this story).
If nothing else, this highlights an ever growing problem in Google’s developer relations. It’s silly that we can all suggest a route Mizuu can take without ever knowing if it will fly with Google. We wish Mizuu best of luck, and hope everything works out.