Bullet Messenger (子弹短信) has been removed from the iOS App Store less than two months after the initial launch. On Tuesday, many Chinese netizens discovered that Bullet Messenger app no longer appears in the search result of iOS App Store. Users who have previously purchased the messaging app could no longer download the app as well.
Update: The app has been restored to Apple’s App Store once again on Wednesday and is now available for download. There are no new app updates visible in the store, however.
According to local media (in Chinese), the messaging app has said in response that it is undergoing a “review process” for re-launching in the app store.
Bullet Messenger also posted a statement regarding the issue, claiming the reason behind the removal was because certain images and content provided by its partner were reported for possible copyright violations. As a result, Bullet Messenger has been temporarily removed from the App Store.
“We are working with our partners to clarify the situation and will notify the public when the app is available for download,” the company added that it will continue to roll out more software updates in the future.
The company did not name the content partner that was reported or other details regarding the allegation. The app was still unavailable in the app store at the time of publishing.
Bullet Messenger was dubbed the “WeChat rival” when it first launched in August. The app quickly gained media attention after it topped China’s iOS App Store chart, and remained there for 9 days straight. However, the app’s success was short-lived. It was recently reported that Bullet Messenger’s daily downloads have dropped dramatically—from nearly 568,000 downloads per day at its height a month prior to below 6000 downloads per day.
There have been red flags. The app was widely criticized for having loose security settings and for spreading vulgar and sexual content.
Luo Yonghao, CEO of Smartisan, responded in a Weibo post (in Chinese) admitting that the app’s basic features still need improvement and that the app, in comparison to the explosive popularity that it had enjoyed when it first launched, has now entered the period of “steady growth”.