Google takes down India's Paytm app from Play Store for policy violations [Update]

Google has taken down the Paytm app from Play Store for violating its policies. India’s most valued startup with over 50 million monthly active users, Paytm is essentially a fintech app that has been trying to integrate e-commerce, gaming, ticketing, etc. to be a super app of sorts.

An official blog post that went live around the time the app was pulled hints at ‘repeated policy violations’ as the reason even though Paytm is not specifically mentioned.

According to Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy, Play Store prohibits online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. Even if the app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is in violation of Play Store policies.

We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance. And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently.

It is not yet clear why Paytm didn’t correct course because Google would’ve notified the company in advance about the issue as is the usual practice.

While sports betting is not legal in India, fantasy sports is allowed. Fantasy sports involve users selecting players and winning cash or rewards based on their team and players' performance in the real matches. Paytm has been marketing Paytm Cricket League for the last few days announcing its foray into the world of fantasy sports. Indian Premier League (IPL), a marquee international cricket tournament hosted by the Indian cricket board annually, kicks off over the weekend.

Update:

The Paytm app is back in the Play Store, although Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has called out Google's monopolistic behavior which he calls as detrimental to India's digital ecosystem.

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