In a bid to sanitize Play Store of malware and junk apps, Google keeps scanning potentially dangerous apps and even removes them from the store. The apps that offer fake promises, and distribute malware are always on the radar. However, sometimes genuine apps also have to suffer due to the automated removal mechanism on Google Play Store.

Google Play Store

In a recent takedown practice, Google has removed several “Cleaner” apps including the popular SD Maid.

Play Store Is Doing Away With “Cleaner” Apps

The developers of these apps shared their plight on Reddit and informed about the sudden removal and full account termination from the Play Store. Especially for the SD Maid app, the reason for removal is cited as a violation of Google’s “Stalkerware policy.” Considering the developer’s claim, there’s no such feature that enables them to stalk user privacy and data. Even, the SD Maid’s source code is listed on GitHub. Here’s the detailed reason for the removal of the SD Maid app:

Reason for termination: We have identified a pattern of high risk or abuse associated with your Developer Account and are taking this action pursuant to Section 8.3/10.3 of Google Play’s Developer Distribution Agreement.

Well, there are some words in the SD Maid description that could have made it fall under the suspicious category for the automated removal tools.

Google Play Store

Going through the SD Maid App description, we can spot some keywords that could raise three eyebrows. Here’s a snippet from its description:

• Browse your whole device and manipulate files through a full-fledged file explorer.

• Remove superfluous files from your system.

• Manage installed user and system apps.

• Detect files formerly belonging to uninstalled apps.

• Search for files by name, content or date.

• Obtain a detailed overview of your device’s storage.

• Optimize databases.

• Do actual app cleaning and remove expendable files, which supersedes what others may call ‘cache cleaning’.

• Detect duplicate pictures, music or documents, independent of name or location.

• Run tools automatically on a schedule or via widgets.

Early Warnings

Most of the app developers are saying that Google has cited the same reason behind the suspension of their Cleaner Apps. However, we are not sure what could be the exact reason, but Google has warned this year about the new guidelines related to “Deceptive Behavior” Apps. The apps that don’t explain the exact usage of their respective apps fall under “Deceptive Behaviour”.

The “Deceptive Behaviour” policy somehow applies to Cleaner Apps that market themselves as speed booster apps. But getting “Stalkerware policy” violations seems difficult to understand as of now. Well, Google knows better which app is violating the Play Store policies in a better way.


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