ToTok, an Emirati messaging app that was first introduced last year and had been gaining popularity since then both in the United Arab Emirates and across the globe, has been pulled from Google Play once again.
The popular app was first removed from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store back in December last year after it was revealed that ToTok was actually a tool that allowed the government to spy on its users. Back then, ToTok noted that it was pulled from the Play Store “due to a technical issue.” At the same time, Google stated that the app was removed because it violated some of the company’s policies, but no further details were given.
As it turned out, the government of the United Arab Emirates collected users’ sensitive data that included photos, locations, conversations, and even more. No malware was involved because common app’s functions that users enabled themselves were used for tracking.
The country allegedly used ToTok to “track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound, and image of those who install it on their phones.”
However, Google reinstated ToTok at the beginning of January, which was indicated in the company’s blogpost:
The wait is over. We are happy to inform you that #ToTok is now available for download on the Google Play Store. Thank you for your patience. Let's connect!
Now it’s been almost a month since the app was reinstated, and Google has removed ToTok from the Play Store again. There’s still no information as to why it happened.