Google has confirmed plans to expel hundreds of Android apps from the Play Store next month. The decision was made after the Californian technology firm quietly updated its inappropriate content policy.
Unlike recent Play Store crackdowns, which saw Google block a dozen applications designed to trick users into downloading malware, the latest expulsion targets so-called “sugar daddy” apps. The ban will see applications vanish from the Play Store listings. And those who have already installed the apps will see them disappear from their Android smartphone or tablet overnight.
For those who don’t know, a sugar daddy refers to someone who pays a younger user in return for sexual intimacy. Services that enable this type of relationship are sometimes referred to as “compensated sexual relationship apps”.
A quick search on the Play Store reveals some 250 apps which claim to enable these transactional relationships. Examples include Sugar Daddy Allowance, Seeking Sugar Daddy, My Sugar Daddy, Seeking Arrangement, Spoil, and Elite Millionaire Singles, to name a few.
According to some users, these apps have allowed younger people to earn as much as £18,000 a month, which is the equivalent of a £216,000 salary. And more importantly, it’s more than enough to cover the cost of a University degree – allowing them to leave without incurring any debts.
At Cambridge University alone, more than 1,000 students were sugar daddies in the 2019/20 academic year, according to data from Seeking Arrangement, which is one of the services that enable these relationships.
When approached about its decision to expel all of these services from September 1, a spokesperson for Google told MailOnline: “As a platform we are always excited to support our developer partners, but we also work hard to provide a safe experience for users. We have updated our inappropriate content policy to prohibit apps that facilitate sexual acts in exchange for compensation following feedback we received from NGOs, governments, and other user advocacy groups concerned with user safety. This aligns our policies with other Google policies and industry norms.”
Google isn’t the first technology firm to take a tough stance on these applications. Apple already has a similar policy in force for its App Store, which is the only method for iPhone and iPad owners to download and update apps.
According to the wording of Apple’s policy, its ban covers “hookup” applications that could “include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution”, which excludes sugar daddy apps.
The policies from both Apple and Google are designed to allow standard dating applications, like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. However, these dating apps can be used by people to organise a sugar daddy-style arrangement.