As of 11:44 UTC we’ve submitted a detailed appeal to reiterate that Element is a generic chat app for connecting to the global Matrix communication network, just as Chrome is a generic web browser for connecting to the Web - and just as Google does not control the content on the Web, Element does not control the content on Matrix.
Managing abuse is an ongoing activity, and Matrix is expanding massively at the moment. We are expanding Element’s Trust and Safety team to match that growth, focusing on improving our anti-abuse mechanisms, and we are also constantly expanding the moderation tools we provide to the community.
Meanwhile, we’re also continuing to work on decentralised reputation as a scalable solution to empower other users to combat abuse for the wider Matrix network - effectively bringing control back to users and empowering communities to remain safe online.
Element and Matrix are used by the French, German, UK and US governments, countless universities, thousands of businesses and millions of people across the world - we can only apologise for the disruption caused by the app disappearing like this.
We’re currently waiting for an update to Google and will keep this blog post updated as the situation develops. We look forward to resolving the problem and getting the app back in the store shortly.
-- The Element Team
Update: reminder that in the interim you can download a (slightly outdated) version of Element Android from F-Droid at https://f-droid.org/en/packages/im.vector.app. We're also looking into running our own F-Droid repository going forwards so the most recent build is always available there.
UPDATE: The app is restored as of 2021-01-31 00:30 UTC. Huge thanks to everyone for your patience and support while we sorted this out, and to the wider Element team who spent their Saturday on this. Thanks also to Google for being transparent and apologetic and the rapid resolution once we'd established contact.