Edition Torrentfreak reports that the open-source LibreTorrent Android client was recently removed from Google Play, allegedly due to a violation of the rules of the platform. The author of LibreTorrent, a Russian developer and student, Yaroslav Pronin, believes that this could be due to the appearance of many clones of LibreTorrent, but Google representatives do not seem interested in further investigation.
Pronin has been developing LibreTorrent since 2016 and started this project, wanting to create a truly free torrent client. As a result, he took the path of open source using the GNU GPLv3 license, and over the years his project has gained a lot of fans.
But, as mentioned above, recently LibreTorrent was excluded from the Google Play application catalog. Pronin said that he first learned about the problem in early October, when Google informed him that his development received a “spam” mark, which indicates that the client was considered to be “non-original” content. So, on October 8, 2019, the client was removed from the catalog with the explanation “violation of the spam policy”.
The developer writes that he was shocked by this and did not violate any rules, so he appealed to Google to try to clarify the situation. However, the appeal was rejected, as LibreTorrent allegedly still violated Google Play rules:
“I reviewed your appeal request and found that your app is still violating Google Play policies. The review revealed that your application violates the spam policy. We do not allow applications on the Google Play that send spam to users, are duplicated and are of poor quality, ”the official response read.
Pronin suggests that the problem arose because of the many LibreTorrent clones that appeared on Google Play. Many of them were no different from the original client, but showed ads to users.
“Google just uninstalled all of these applications without understanding what’s happening,” Pronin said. – Google just decided that LibreTorrent is an application with non-original content, as there are many clones of LibreTorrent on Google Play. It is also possible that the author of one of these clones complained about the removal of the original LibreTorrent
I filed an appeal, but they told me that they can’t help, and the only option is to rename the application and lay it out again.
In fact, the developer has been trying to deal with clones all the last years, and most of the clones were removed last year at his request, but new ones continued to appear again and again.
Now Pronin, for obvious reasons, is disappointed in Google. He says the company made no effort to figure out the situation, and notes that real Google Play malware thrives until someone complains about it. Pronin also complains that fewer people will learn about free software due to LibreTorrent removal. After all, one of his main goals was to bring information about free software to as many people as possible.