Censorship on the internet has been a significant hurdle when talking about the growth of the crypto industry. The modern-day pop-culture has tied cryptocurrencies to the dark web, and this has left a permanent mark on its reputation.
Internet Tech giants like Facebook and Google have always had a problematic relationship with Crypto as a result of the lack of clear-regulations in the industry. Controlled censorship is a necessary evil; however, some events have seen both the companies censor crypto-based content and services to keep regulators off their backs.
Google, the most popular internet search engine, has a long history with crypto-censorship. While a lot of fraudulent and exploitative applications continue to exist in the play store, Google seems to be targeting registered, verified, and legitimate crypto-related applications.
Crypto news censorship
According to the latest reports, Google’s most recent purge seems to be targeting crypto-based news and information providers by removing the applications that facilitate this. It looks like Google continues to consider cryptocurrencies as a threat to the people and is trying to stop it from gaining exposure. Just like the search engine’s safe-mode, which filters harmful content, Google’s play store seems to be filtering cryptocurrencies.
Crypto media outlet Cointelegraph was one of the recent victims that saw its android application getting removed from the play store. According to their report, Google play seems to have removed crypto news sites, including Cointelegraph and CoinDesk.
The report also states that Cointelegraph has no idea why its application was removed since the Google Play Store team has not made any comment whatsoever as to what caused the removal of these applications from the store.
“Google did not contact Cointelegraph regarding the planned removal. We have reached out to the company but received no response as of press time. […] For Cointelegraph’s part, we have been operating much as we always have, and do not readily have an explanation for why the app is no longer available.”
Google’s history with Crypto
The latest Google crack-down adds to the tech giant’s censorship saga. It had previously cracked-down on cryptocurrency-related advertising and updated its financial services-related ad policies to ban any advertising about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice.
Late December 2019, saw the company’s subsidiary and biggest video streaming platform YouTube; remove hundreds of cryptocurrency-related videos starting December 23. The platform, removed several crypto-related contents while passing out warnings and “strikes,” which prevented content creators from producing new content.
The Youtube Fiasco followed a suspension of popular Ethereum Mobile Wallet and decentralized application browser MetaMask’s android client from its store. However, the app was later restored as Google cited it mistook the MetaMask Android client as an app that mines cryptocurrency. Google has a strict policy against apps that mine cryptocurrency on mobile devices.
Google’s concerns aren’t too erroneous. Apart from the pressure from regulators, there have been multiple reports of cryptojacking malware attacks that stealthily mine cryptocurrency by stealing the physical resources of a victim’s hardware. According to the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2019 report, Cryptojacking attacks have surged by 450 percent over the last few years.
It can only be speculated that the removal of the latest news based applications was yet again an error on the part of Google, and it might restore the apps on the store. However, if Google does start targeting applications that are linked to cryptocurrencies, that could turn out to be disastrous for the crypto industry, considering the fact that Android is the most used mobile operating system.