Update: November 17, 06:20 ET, In another twist in the UC Browser tale, it appears that the “employee” who first weighed-in on the situation may not be an employee after all. A Twitter user going by the name of Mike Ross originally said that he worked for UC Browser and provided insights into why the app had been pulled from Google Play. In a statement to MobiGyaan, UCWeb said he wasn’t an employee.
“The reason for the removal has nothing to do with alleged data security breach or malicious promotion,” said UCWeb. “We would like to state that we have no records of anyone named ‘Mike Ross’ claiming to be working for UC Browser, as mentioned in some reports. The person claiming to be working for UC Browser is in no way associated with the firm nor represent the views of the company. The allegations of misleading and malicious promotions by the said person are completely false and baseless.”
I’ve reached out to Mike Ross regarding the matter and will update this story should I receive a response.
Original coverage: November 17, 04:28 ET, UC Browser for Android, a web browsing app with half a billion installs, was suddenly removed from the Google Play Store earlier this week. The reason for its removal was unknown, though it stood to be a particularly big problem for users in India, where the app was the sixth most popular app,
Three days ago, a person claiming to work at the browser tweeted us to with an explanation. Reportedly, the employee had received an email which said that the app had been removed from Google Play for “30 days” for using “‘Misleading” and ‘Unhealthy’ methods of promotion to increase installs.”
I work for UC Browser,I got mail today morning it said that UC Browser was temporarily removed from play store for 30 days because it used “Misleading” and “Unhealthy” methods of promotion to increase installs
— Mike Ross (@SKz_14) November 14, 2017
In a statement to Gadgets 360, UCWeb, the browser’s owner, officially commented on the issue:
“We were informed by Google Play about temporary removal of UC Browser from the Play Store for 7 days, beginning 13 Nov 2017, under the reason that a certain setting of UC Browser is not in line with Google’s policy. We have conducted an urgent internal investigation and fixed the problem,” UCWeb said.
“The new version has been uploaded on Google Play’s Developer Console and is awaiting evaluation. We will actively cooperate with Google Play for any concern caused by this unintentional error. In the meantime, users can still download UC Browser Mini from the Play Store, an alternative version of UC Browser.”
UCWeb has also come under fire previously following reports of privacy and security concerns, though it has denied any wrongdoing. In this scenario, it’s putting the Play Store removal down to an “unintentional error.” While these may be completely innocent issues for UCWeb, the company may have to tread carefully for a while to maintain the trust of its fans.
UCWeb says that the app would return to Google Play next week and that anybody who wanted to install it on their device in the meantime could download it manually from http://www.ucweb.com.