PM Narendra Modi's aatmanirbhar and vocal for local push inspired Indians to look for home-grown alternatives to international companies and services. With the anti-TikTok narrative inspired by a protest to boycott Chinese services, a short video and social platform Mitron gained immense popularity. The app gained over 5 million downloads within a month, but its fame was short-lived.
Soon after Mitron's success, the app was met with a series of controversies - one which even found its origin to Pakistan. In another major blow to the developers of the controversial repackaged Pakistani app, Google has pulled down Mitron from Play Store - putting a pause to its growing number of downloads.
Mitron and its controversies
Mitron was created by IIT-Roorkee alumnus Shivank Agarwal and his team based out of Bengaluru and launched in April. The app's uncanny resemblance to TikTok helped many users to flock to the new home-grown app, but it was the anti-TikTok sentiment that led to its initial success and not to mention the PM's reference to the word 'Mitron,' which translates to friends, used in his speeches.
News18 dug a little deeper into the origin of the app, which is where the controversies began. It found out that Mitron's entire source code, its features and the interface were bought from a Pakistani software developing company called Qboxus.
The Qboxus founder Irfan Sheikh confirmed that the Mitron's source code was sold for $34 (approx. Rs 2,600). He said that developers took the exact product and uploaded it on the Play Store just by changing the logo. But the app was widely promoted as an Indian-made app, which after this revelation created quite a stir.
In another controversy surrounding the app, CNBC failed to find any digital presence of the founder of Mitron app, IIT-Roorkee alumnus Shivank Agarwal. This raised some questions too. But what followed next raised a red flag.
Why Google removed Mitron from Play Store?
CNBC reported that upon reaching out to Google to understand the due diligence done before allowing Mitron app on Play Store, Google decided to suspend it for violating its "spam and minimum functionality" policy.
Apps must provide users with a basic degree of functionality and a respectful user experience and also mentions repetitive content, which means copying content from other apps without adding any original content or value, violates Google's norms.
Cyberexperts also warned users who downloaded Mitron app to be worried about their privacy.