Google today suspended Pinduoduo – the popular Chinese shopping app – from the Play Store. The search engine giant took action after malware was found in versions of the app.
Malware is a piece of software that is designed to damage, disrupt, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. When concealed in otherwise genuine-looking apps, malware may be used to gain access to sensitive information on a user’s phone.
“We have suspended the Play version of the app for security concerns while we continue our investigation,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement released on Tuesday.
This suspension comes at a time when tensions are high over Chinese-owned apps like TikTok that U.S lawmakers fear may pose a security threat as they may be used to spy on American users. TikTok has already been banned on government devices in the U.S., Canada, and the EU.
Pinduoduo is already a popular shopping app in China that is known for generous discounts when users join up and purchase multiple items. Riding on the success of Pinduoduo, the US-listed public company (PDD) launched Temu (a US-based shopping platform) last year.
Google on Tuesday warned its users to remove any Pinduoduo app installations that were not downloaded from its Play Store.
“Google Play Protect enforcement has been set to block installation attempts of these identified malicious apps. Users that have malicious versions of the app downloaded to their devices are warned and prompted to uninstall the app,” the company said in a statement.
In a statement to CNN, Pinduoduo said that it had been informed about its app being ‘temporarily suspended’ because it was not compliant with Google’s Policy. The company added that it was reaching out to Google for more information.
It’s not clear – at this moment in time – whether similar security concerns apply to Apple users. The iOS version is still available for download at the Apple Store.