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[Update: App to be reinstated, Google statement] Popular podcast app Podcast Addict banned from Play Store over COVID-19 content

Despite having almost 9 years of pedigree as one of the most popular and most used podcast apps on Android, Podcast Addict has been banned from the Google Play Store due to new COVID-19 policies.

With over 5 million downloads on the Google Play Store, it’s a big gaping hole for podcasters and podcast listeners alike. In a post on Twitter, developer Xavier Guillemane shared the notification he received that confirmed Podcast Addict was “suspended” for policy violations.

[Update 05/19]: A Google spokesperson has reached out to clarify the situation that led to Podcast Addict being removed from the Play Store.

“To ensure users of Google Play are getting authoritative and accurate health information, we’re continuing to take an intentionally cautious approach to apps with Covid-19 content–as outlined in our blog post for developers. In this case, we’ve reinstated the app and have communicated with the developer to ensure the app remains compliant with our policies.”

On top of that, Google’s own Hiroshi Lockheimer has taken to Twitter to confirm that this error was due to the recent automated systems purged COVID-19 misinformation and that Podcast Addict was unfortunately caught in the crossfire. So with that in mind, you can now redownload your favorite free podcast app and continue binging the 9to5Google Daily

The recent policy updates were introduced to help curb the spread of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 virus. The unintended consequence of which has seen this immensely popular podcast app essentially being yanked from the Play Store without any prior warning.

Google Play has clearly deemed some of the content unsuitable as per their Developer Program Policies — Section 8.3 to be precise. The Play Store told Guillemane:

“Pursuant to Section 8.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement and the Enforcement policy, apps referencing COVID-19, or related terms, in any form will only be approved for distribution on Google Play if they are published, commissioned, or authorized by official government entities or public health organizations.“

podcast addict banned

In order to get his app restored, Google is, therefore, asking him to remove all references to COVID-19 and any related keywords. Because Podcast Addict essentially collates popular podcast repositories, it’s almost impossible for Guillemane to police the audio content that listeners have access to. The most recent listing archived by the WaybackMachine boasts over 750,000 podcasts, 120,000 radio stations, and 20,000 audiobooks are all directly available for free.

When you consider that Google’s own Podcast app is still live and kicking on the Play Store, this seems particularly unfair. It could simply be a misunderstanding, but it’s not ideal for the developer. However, until the problem is resolved, you can download and sideload the official Podcast Addict .apk file — although we don’t always recommend doing so from third-party repositories.

More on the Google Play Store:

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Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

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