Google Bans Original Android Torrent App for Being a Clone

Android apps being delisted from the Google Play Store accidentally isn’t something that necessarily happens very often, but there are cases when the removal of big names really raise questions as to how effective Google’s filters actually are.

The best example comes from none other than the developer of open-source torrent client LIbreTorrent, who recently discovered that his app got banned from the Google Play Store due to what the search giant describes as spam.

As I said, accidents like this happen every now and then, but the odd thing isn’t necessarily that LibreTorrent was flagged as spam, but the fact that Google claims this is a clone of other torrent clients in the Store. When, in fact, LibreTorrent is actually the original app, and many other torrent clients offered in the Google Play store are nothing but clones with ads and no exclusive features.

As it typically happens when apps are removed from the Store by mistake, the developer of LibreTorrent reached out to Google to remove the ban, only to be told that his app is considered to be a duplicate.

“I’ve reviewed your appeal request and found that your app still violates Google Play Policy. During review, we found that your app violates the policy for Spam. We don’t allow apps that spam users or Google Play, such as apps that are duplicative and low-quality,” the response received by Yaroslav Pronin reads as per a report from TorrentFreak.

Renaming the app, the only way to go

So what exactly happened here?

That’s really hard to say, especially because LibreTorrent is the original app in the first place. In fact, Pronin explains that he even reported some of the clones in the past, and they were eventually removed after Google discovered they indeed violated the aforementioned policy.

There’s a chance, Pronin says, that someone who created a clone actually reported LibreTorrent to Google, and the search giant just analyzed the two apps side by side and decide to remove the wrong one.

The only way to go is to resubmit the app under a new name, Pronin explains, in which case he’ll lose the established brand and the stats that are pushing so many users towards this client. And given LibreTorrent 2.0 is just around the corner, this is without a doubt something that’s not by any means convenient.

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