CNBC reports Apple is rejecting any COVID-19 coronavirus-related apps that aren’t from accredited health organizations or government institutions.
Four independent developers told CNBC that Apple had rejected their coronavirus apps, which allowed users to view statistics about which countries have confirmed cases of the virus.
Some of these apps used public data from reliable sources like the World Health Organization (WHO) to create dashboards or live maps. The developers asked not to be identified to avoid any future complications with Apple’s review process.
One developer says an Apple employee told him over the phone that anything related to the coronavirus needs to released by an official health organization or government. Another developer received a notice that “apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution,” according to a screenshot seen by CNBC.
Searches for “coronavirus” or ”COVID-19” on the App Store bring up only a few results, including a COVID-19 virus tracker that uses World Health Organization data, the Epoch Times, and an app from the Brazilian government.
Other firms, including Facebook and Amazon, have taken similar steps to help prevent the spread of misinformation about the outbreak. Facebook has banned misleading ads related to coronavirus, while Amazon has banned sales of coronavirus-related products and is working to prevent sellers from price gouging on items like hand sanitizer and face masks.
Coronavirus-related searches of the Google Play Store failed to return any results in the United States store. Google has a policy against apps that attempt to capitalize or profit from natural disasters or other tragedies.