Google pulls Hong Kong protest role-playing app

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Google (GOOGL) said in a statement Friday that the company has a “long-standing policy prohibiting developers from capitalizing on sensitive events such as attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies through a game.”
In the app, called “The Revolution of Our Times,” people could role-play as Hong Kong protesters. Users could make purchases while playing, buying things like protective gear and weapons as they move through different stages in the game, according to local media reports.

The removal of the app was “not in response to a government request but because the app violated the Play Store’s policies,” a Google spokesperson said.

Earlier this week, Apple (AAPL) pulled a real-time mapping app called HKmap.live from its App Store. The app used various emojis to communicate what was happening across Hong Kong: A dog marked where police officers were present; a police car showed where police vehicles were located; and a camera marked the location of a livestream.

Apple said it had received complaints about the app from several people in Hong Kong, saying it had been used in ways that “endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”

Apple’s decision came soon after Chinese state media criticized it for allowing HKmap to be downloaded.

The National Basketball Association was also drawn into the controversy around the Hong Kong protests last week.

The American league is facing a ferocious backlash in China after Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for the protests. That prompted all of the NBA’s official Chinese partners to suspend business ties with the league.

Like many other US internet platforms, Google’s most popular products — search, YouTube, Gmail — have been banned in mainland China for years, blacked out by a vast government censorship apparatus known as the Great Firewall.

CNN’s Isaac Yee and Laura He contributed to this report.

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