Back in December 2019, The New York Times reported that a renowned messaging application known as ToTok was, in fact, a spying tool utilized by one of the world’s governments to control users’ conversations, locations, as well as social connections.
The application was deleted from the Google Play Store in December; however, while Google apparently needed time to investigate it, reinstated it in January. Now, Google announced that the app had been removed again, but it refused to explain why it removed it in the first place, only to reinstate it and delete it again.
The website 9to5Google first observed the fact that ToTok has again been deleted from Google Play Store on Friday. When asked by TechCrunch to comment, Google confirmed that it removed the app from its marketplace. Moreover, the company has mentioned that it did not delete the app in response to any external request.
Google’s Actions Were Odd
As per The New York Times’ original post, ToTok has been installed by millions of people from Apple’s, as well as Google’s app stores all over the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America in just a few months after it was released. Citing some U.S. intelligence sources, the report said that the app had been utilized to track people’s ‘every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound, and image.’
When the app was deleted, it had more than 10 million installs, Sensor Tower, an app intelligence agency, said. In January, the official website of ToTok has announced that the application was available for download and use again.
Oddly enough, the updated version submitted to Google Play Store came with a notification that requested permission to access and sync users’ contact lists. However, the version of the app never appeared on Google’s market again.
On February 14th, 2020, Google announced that it removed the app from the Play Store. ToTok is not available for download on iOS devices.