Google has removed Pinduoduo from the Google Play Store. Versions of the popular Chinese shopping app were reportedly found to have malware.
Google issued a statement about its decision. The company explained on Tuesday that the app’s removal was due to security issues. It also said the matter was under investigation.
Malware refers to software developed to damage mobile devices and computer systems. It also steals data. This malicious software can become hidden in apps. It can then gain unauthorized access to an individual’s phone. Its insidious nature means it can get information without the user being aware of it.
The Pinduoduo app suspension from the online platform came at a difficult time. Tensions between the US and China have skyrocketed in recent weeks. US lawmakers have expressed concerns over that Chinese-owned applications. For example, they alleged TikTok could become a threat to national security. Similar apps could also spy on US citizens.
Pinduoduo is one of China’s top e-commerce apps. The platform has around 900 million users. It’s known for its group-buying business model. The company would give large discounts if buyers team up and buy several units of a product.
Google warned its users to uninstall Pinduoduo apps. Especially those not downloaded from the Play Store. The company said Play Protect’s enforcement will block attempts to install the app. It will also block other identified malicious apps.
Google also warned off users with malicious versions of the Pinduoduo app. The company also encouraged them to uninstall the app as soon as they can.
Questions were also raised if there are similar security issues on Apple devices. The shopping app was still downloadable from the iOS store on Tuesday.
Pinduoduo admitted the suspension in its statement to the CNN Network. It said the suspension of the Pinduoduo app was temporary. It explained that the current version was not compliant with Google’s policy.
A Pinduoduo spokesperson said they’re already communicating with Google about the issue. They also expressed their anger over speculations the app is malicious. Especially as it was then caused by a generic response from Google.
Pinduoduo might be down from the Play Store but Temu is still on it. The online superstore also came from PDD Holdings Inc., Pinduoduo’s parent company. The app rolled out in September 2022 and has become downloaded 24 million times. It also has more than 11 million active users per month. It’s still available on Google Play.