Google Play is changing its inappropriate-content policy to ban apps promoting “sugar dating” or “compensated sexual relationships”.
From 1 September, the app store will prohibit facilitating “sugar-daddy” services, often involving older men offering cash and gifts in exchange for a relationship with younger women. Critics say they differ little from prostitution, though the exchange does not always involve sex.
From 22 April, it will require developers to provide accurate information about the personal or sensitive user data their apps collect, use, or share.
Journalists have identified a number of apps in the Play Store that explicitly or implicitly facilitate sugar dating, some with hundreds of thousands of installs.
Reports suggest Google’s decision may be motivated by US legislation that can make platforms liable for content that facilitates prostitution. The law, which came into effect in 2018, has seen a number of platforms tighten rules on sex work.