WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular privacy-oriented messengers, has disappeared from Google Play — and nobody knows why.
The reason for its sudden vanishing remains unclear, but its sibling, WhatsApp for Business, remains on Google’s software distribution platform, as spotted by WhatsApp serial leaker WABetaInfo.
TNW has since then confirmed the app is no longer available on the Play Store, in both the Netherlands and the UK.
Curiously, while it won’t show up in search, WhatsApp is still available through its dedicated Play Store page.
Despite the disappearance, WhatsApp seems to function just fine for now.
For the record, you can still get the app from third-party sources by downloading the APK. That, of course, opens a whole new can of worms and a whole lot of opportunities for hackers to distribute malicious instances of the Facebook-owned privacy messenger.
The issue appears to be limited to Android, and not affecting iOS users. In the meantime, it seems that WhatsApp is also not available on third-party app stores, like Huawei‘s AppGallery and Samsung’s Galaxy Store. I’ll be honest, though, I’ve never used either of these stores, so I wouldn’t even know if it was ever there in the first place.
We’ve reached out to Facebook and Google for further comment, and will update this piece accordingly.
Until then, sit back, and try not to download WhatsApp from sketchy sites.
Update 12:15 UTC, October 11: A WhatsApp spokesperson contacted TNW to let us know the app is now back up on the Play Store. Unfortunately, the reason for the short absence remains unclear.
Well, at least it’s back up.
Pro-tip: you’ll have to restart (close it and open it again) the Google Play to get WhatsApp to show up in search again.