Google removes more than 2,000 loan apps from India Play Store since January 2022

A senior official said Google has removed more than 2,000 loan apps from the India Play Store since January this year for violating terms, misrepresenting information, and questionable offline behavior.

The official said the tech giant is also looking to tighten policies in the coming weeks to make more controls in this area.

Saikat Mitra, Senior Director and Head of Trust and Security, Google APAC (Asia Pacific Region) said the company is committed to complying with regulations in all jurisdictions in which it operates, describing online damage as a “global phenomenon”.

When asked about concerns in some quarters, that digital platforms are not doing enough to limit harm online and are in fact rolling back the upcoming new regulations, Mitra emphasized that Google’s priority and core values ​​have always been around user safety.

The company believes in having open and multilateral dialogues with governments on regulation, he said, adding, “In our world everything starts with user safety and security.”

“We have removed more than 2,000 loan apps from the India Play Store from January to date,” Mitra said, adding that the crackdown was based on leads and incoming inputs, policy violation, lack of disclosures and misinformation.

He suggested that the loan application problem had “climaxed”, and had subsided given the focus and attention given to the problem.

“We are in the process of making more policy changes that will emerge in a few weeks… which will make it clearer about the requirements…,” he said, adding that the proposed move would lead to tighter controls.

Mitra explained that the nature of the “loan application” problem varies in different markets.

The US market, for example, suffers from the problem of bad loans, while in India it is a mixture of misrepresentation, non-compliance with policies and regulations, incorrect or “real world” behavior of such applications regarding refund and other actions.

“It entails questions like…Does the loan application prominently reveal what people have in common, rates for example…Are you restricted to an NBFC or an approved bank…Is this bank blacklisted by the Reserve Bank of India… It also gets into offline matters that we don’t have visibility into but we get input from law enforcement agencies.”

On the issue of new regulations and government policies, Mitra said, “When regulation comes, we work closely with the government and industry.”

“We believe we are all trying to achieve the same goals…which is to respect privacy and security. We feel our policies should actually help us achieve that. And when regulation comes, we have a dialogue and make sure we make our point.”

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