With plenty of scaremongering about the COVID-19 coronavirus, Apple is doing its part to stop the spread of misinformation related to the outbreak. According to a report published Thursday, Apple is cracking down on non-official apps relating to the novel coronavirus.
Those are apps not made by recognized institutions such as governments or hospitals. Independent apps providing functionality like tracking of the outbreak’s spread are being rejected by Apple, developers claim.
Apple has updated its App Store policy to reflect this decision. It now notes that apps involving “highly regulated” fields like healthcare must be submitted by a “legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.”
“Right now the technology industry is working very hard to ensure the platforms are not being used to provide people with false or, even worse, dangerous information about the coronavirus,” Morgan Reed, president of industry group the App Association told CNBC. “We are seeing significant pressure inside and outside to halt applications and advertisements before they harm citizens.”
As Reed suggests, Apple is not the only company to be acting in this way. Amazon last month warned that it would remove product listings which promise to kill coronavirus. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Tuesday that Facebook is “focused on making sure everyone can access credible and accurate information.” It is removing stories peddling conspiracy theories. Google, meanwhile, is banning ads for anti-coronavirus products. It is also providing information from the World Health Organization at the top of the page in searchers related to coronavirus.