Apple reportedly rejecting coronavirus apps that aren't made by hospitals, governments

Apple is denying applications related to the coronavirus outbreak that aren't released by an official health organization or government, according to a March 5 CNBC report.

The technology giant has denied at least four independent developers from offering their COVID-19-related apps in Apple's App Store, the app developers told CNBC. These apps were designed to allow users to view stats about which countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

One developer said an Apple employee told them "that anything related to the coronavirus must be released by an official health organization or government," while another developer received the following written response: "apps with information about current medical information need to be submitted by a recognized institution," CNBC reports.  

Apple on March 4 published an updated policy explaining that apps in "highly-regulated" fields, such as healthcare or air travel, must be submitted by a "legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer."

Similar to Apple, Google is also cracking down on the coronavirus apps offered in its app store to help prevent the spread of misinformation. Google has a rule against apps that "capitalize on a natural disaster" or "atrocity" or appears to "profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to the victims," according to the report.

Other tech giants have also stepped up to combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation. Last week, Amazon added a CDC notice to searches for "coronavirus," "COVID-19" or other related terms, which directs the shopper to the CDC's resources regarding coronavirus protective measures. Social media platform TikTok has partnered with the World Health Organization to share reliable and timely public health advice and resources on its platform.

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