On Wednesday (28 July), Google has announced that they will not allow “Sugar dating” apps on the Android Play Store starting 1 September. This comes after Google announced a series of policy changes for the platform.
Among the changes were to specifically prohibit apps relating to “compensated sexual relationships” such as sugar dating, while other changes coming to the platform includes a new crackdown on inactive developer accounts.
Google said that the policy is to ensure that Google Play remains a safe and respectful platform. Traditionally, sugar dating relationships involve older or wealthier individuals dating and showering younger partners with gifts.
According to Android Police, they said that there are a number of dating apps on Play Store that promotes “sugar daddy” or “sugar mummy” relationships. However, none of them explicitly says that older men or women are expected to compensate their younger partner for their affection, but many do emphasize the wealth of the men or women on their services.
The Google’s Play Store policies had already prohibit apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.” but the updated version expands the definition to include “compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant (‘sugar dating’).”
Nonetheless, Google had not clarify why are the apps being banned now. However, it is believed that this comes after the US’s crackdown on online sex work by platform following the introduction of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation in 2018, which removes Section 230 protections for content that “promotes or facilitates prostitution.”
At the same time, the updates also offer more information on Google’s previously announced changes regarding Play Store spam and opting-out of the use of advertising IDs.
Google is updating its store listings and promotion policy on 29 September to ban “spam text and graphics in app titles, icons and developer names” and its ads policy is being updated to reflect the advertising ID changes on 4 October.
Having that said, the mainstream dating app such as Tinder will remain unaffected by the new policy update and will remain listed on the Play Store.