We asked Google for a comment.
While the option to sideload the app will soften the blow, it won’t exactly excite the community. Several governments (including the US, UK, France and Germany) use Element and the Matrix network alongside universities and businesses. Losing easy access to the app can be a significant hassle.
The move comes as technology giants become increasingly sensitive to the content of apps they host or deploy. Apple and Google, for example, took action against Parler after the uprising in the US Capitol. However, if Google pulls Element for content that is not on the app manufacturer’s servers, it would be problematic. The team is effectively being asked to review an entire online platform, not just the area it can moderate.