Apple bans coronavirus games and entertainment apps from App Store
Apple publicized restrictions on coronavirus-themed apps over the weekend and part of the tech giant’s decision bans games and entertainment related to the respiratory outbreak.
The iPhone maker outlined its review process for apps related to the pandemic on Saturday, adding plans to only allow official health-related apps from trustworthy organizations and agencies.
“We’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable,” Apple said in a statement on its developer website.
The company said it will only allow coronavirus-focused apps from “government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.”
Because the coronavirus crisis is escalating, Apple is also giving apps that use reputable sources an expedited path to approval, the company said. Developers can choose the “time-sensitive event” option when submitting for App Store approval.
It’s not just the App Store that’s grappling with the spread of misinformation in the wake of the deadly respiratory illness, which has killed thousands of people, mostly in China.
As of Sunday afternoon, the U.S. death toll rose to 62, with the total number of confirmed cases surging to more than 3,200.
The Google Play store has launched a dedicated section for coronavirus apps that lists offerings from trustworthy sources.
“As cases of the coronavirus continue to be confirmed, these apps can help you stay prepared and informed,” the Google Play store says. The list includes apps from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Red Cross.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also have initiated bans on misinformation related to what health agencies have dubbed Covid-19.