A new “anti-fraud” app developed by China’s public security ministry, is now the most downloaded free app in the country’s iOS app store, according to mobile data and analytics platform App Annie.
Officially named “National Anti-fraud Centre”, the app is designed to filter spam calls, warn users of any calls, text messages or installed apps that are suspected of being associated with fraudulent activities.
Since its launch in mid-March of this year, the app has quickly soared to the top of downloaded chart in China’s app store.
With QR codes for people to scan and download, banner advertisement of the app can be seen in subway stations, retail stores, residential community in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen.
Short video platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou also fuel the popularity of the app, with some police officers and influencers co-host live-streaming sessions to promote the app on the platforms.
Despite its huge popularity, the app has received a very low rating based on the feedback of the app users. Many users complained about being forced by local police and security officers to install the app and expressed concerns about data privacy.
Even though the app description on the app store states that the developers do not collect any user data, registration still requires users to submit their real name, national ID number, phone number, address and even facial image.