Google Play banned open-source matrix client element, citing “abusive content”

The latest app to catch an unreasonable restriction from the Google Play Store is an open-source, end-to-end encrypted messaging client element to the Elemented Matrix chat protocol. Google banned the element late Friday night, which is a ban Element said “Somewhere on the Matrix is ​​due to abusive content.” Matrix has millions of users, and as a federated chat protocol, Elements does not control the content on the Matrix, so it is like banning web browsers to display web content. Element says it is working with Google to “explain how the element works and resolves the situation.”

Google is cracking down on apps that display hateful content, but the element says it should not be part of the crackdown. “We’ve also explained that the matrix server that we do “Run as an Element (including the default Matrix dot homeriver, which we run on behalf of The Matrix Matrix Foundation) has strict terms of use that we actively enforce,” said Element. We misuse , And Element is not an app. Completes abusive content. “

Element says it has a full-time team dedicated to handling reports of abuse

The element (formerly called is often cited as one of the best matrix customers. It looks like a lot – and is really the difference with Slack and Discord. The element states that it is used by “French, German, UK and US governments, countless universities, thousands of businesses, and millions worldwide.” The app has recently seen an influx of new users following WhatsApp’s announcement about Facebook data sharing, so it may be that an in-depth investigation from Google may begin. In press time, several other Matrix apps — which by definition show the same content as the element — are still active on the Play Store.

Google cuts all Play Store transactions by 30 percent, which has to pay for the cost of running the store, but the company doesn’t hire humans primarily to review Apple’s way, instead giving bots Choose to handle. . Apple recently reduced its App Store tax from 30 percent to 15 percent, so Apple actually charges less developers than Google while offering better human support.

Of element latest update As of this writing status it has been waiting over eight hours for an email response. Element says it was not informed of the takedown, which has now passed through the 24-hour mark.

Bots’ interpretation of Google’s rules often makes no sense, and as a result Google routinely prohibits random small apps from the Play Store because they can display content from the Internet. We’ve seen Reddit apps, podcast apps, and other apps that display all “winning” Google Play-of-the-week lotteries to third-party web content, simply because they are designed to display third-party content. Can. The same is true of Google Search, Chrome, Gmail, all of Google’s chat apps, YouTube, Google Drive, and Google Podcasts, but those apps are never banned. Earlier this week Google banned a video app because it listed standard “.ass” subtitle file support in its description.

An advantage of the Play Store is that you do not need to use it, as Android supports sideloading. The all-open-source repository of Android apps, Element on F-Droid, is also released, although the version offered there is over a month old. Android Hacking is a more up-to-date version of the community’s largest app store APKMirror.

These bans are almost a kind of temporary mistakes that are corrected after a few hours or days, but this gives little solace to app developers, who may suddenly pull their business out from under them due to an enforcement mistake . Element says, “We can only apologize for the disruption caused by the app disappearing in this way.”

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