The New York Times recently announced that a popular messaging app called ToTok was in fact a spyware used by the United Arab Emirates government to monitor users' conversations, location and connections. The app, however, was removed from the Google Play Store in December 2019, and Google proceeded to investigate the case and reinstated it in early January.
Google is now confirming that the application has been removed again, however refusing to clarify why. 9to5Google's website first discovered that ToTok had been removed from the Google Play Store again, a fact confirmed by Google at TechCrunch. In addition, she pointed out that there was no external direction or request that compelled her to do so. This therefore proves that the US government had no involvement in it, but it is purely a Google decision. It is alleged that the reason that led to this decision was probably related to a policy violation.
According to the New York Times, the ToTok application was downloaded by millions of users in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America from its app store Apple and Google, just months from its release.
In January 2020, the ToTok website announced that the application was again available for download. Specifically, the update submitted to Google Play included a new dialog that required authorization to access and synchronize users' contact list.
What was particularly striking was the fact that this ToTok update was not included in Google Play again.
Usually, third-party information providers such as App Annie and Tower Sensor, can even see very low rated applications. For example, App Annie charts track applications as poorly ranked # 1750 in any category. But after his return, ToTok was never high, even in the UAE's domestic market.
However, the application was still available for download. Google confirms that it removed the app on February 14, 2020 from the Play store. Now, the ToTok site shows the application registration in third-party Android app stores, but not on Google Play. It also offers a file APK for immediate download. Finally, ToTok is still unavailable to iOS.