The Modi Keynote app caused waves over the past weekend, with many people using it to check if their Rs. 2000 and Rs. 500 notes are authentic or fake. The problem with that? The Modi Keynote app does not actually distinguish between real and fake currency.
In fact, Barra Skull Studios – the developers of Modi Keynote – clearly wrote in the app’s description on Google Play store that it was “just for fun.” But in this age of misinformation, and the confusion over the new Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 500 notes, the fact that this app was just for fun did not reach many users.
In an email conversation with Gadgets 360, the Barra Skull Studios team talked about the idea behind the app, and why they decided to remove the app from the Play Store, along with an appeal to those spreading misinformation using such apps.
What was the original idea behind the Modi Keynote app? “The idea was to make people understand the key points spoken by our Prime Minister in a different and interesting way using augmented reality technology,” the team explained. The Modi Keynote app plays Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on black money, when it detects a new Rs. 2000 note has been scanned by the user via the smartphone’s camera.
When Modi Keynote was released on Google Play on November 12, it was an immediate success and garnered as many as 4 million downloads from the Android marketplace, the developers claim, before being pulled from the marketplace over the past weekend. The team believed that every Indian would get the new notes, and this would make passing on the PM's message via such an app easy.
This, however, went horribly wrong, says the team, because of some “YouTube videos and social media,” according to the team, with people spreading false statements of authenticating the currency, something the app was not intended for.
But why delete the app in the first place, considering its popularity? The Barra Skull Studios team stresses that the Modi Keynote was not removed from Google Play app store due to violations, but taken down by the developers themselves, “in the interest of the public.” In fact, it was released on Google Play once again on November 22 for a short while just to show that it was taken down by choice and not removed for some violations.
The team has a message for those spreading misinformation about apps like Modi Keynote, “We request app reviewers who take our apps and misguide millions of users with their own views to read the description and intention of the app developer [and] pass exactly the same, rather than misguiding them with their own understanding.”
But despite the removal of Modi Keynote, there are many copycat apps available on Google Play now, fooling users with their claims to determine if a new currency note is real or not, something that the developers did not aim to do.