Popular application UC Browser seems to have suddenly vanished from the Google Play Store. The app, which had around 500 million downloads on the Play Store, is no longer available for download. However, the reason for the removal of UC Browser has not been elaborated on by Alibaba, the company which owns the app, or Google yet.
The app’s reported expulsion from Google’s app store comes after reports of it sending sensitive user data to China. As per the reports from August, the UC Browser would violate the user’s privacy and collects data even after the app has been uninstalled. The data would then reportedly be sent to servers in China. The Indian government then planned on banishing the app considering the tense air with China.
However, other claims suggest the de-listing is merely temporary. Mike Ross, who claims to be working for UC Browser, stated that the app has only been removed for a period of 30 days owing to its “‘misleading’ and ‘unhealthy’ methods of promotion to increase installs.”
I work for UC Browser,I got mail today morning it said that UC Browser was temporarily removed from play store for 30 days because it used “Misleading” and “Unhealthy” methods of promotion to increase installs
— Mike Ross (@SKz_14) November 14, 2017
An Android Central report quoted a UC Union representative as saying, “prohibits any and all misleading/malicious advertising method(s) to procure new users when promoting UC Browser campaigns, such as by using slogan inconsistent with the Product functions, or by using inductive slogan.”
Such allegations are not being thrown at UC Browser for the first time. Earlier in 2015, a research group Citizen Lab‘s report suggested that the app would communicate a user’s personal information to third-party applications.
While there is no clear confirmation on why the app has been delisted, unfortunately, Android users have no option but to wait out the app’s return. The UC mini-browser is, however, still available for download.