Google will prohibit sugar dating apps in the latest series of changes to its Play Store policies.
Effective September 1st, the Google Play Store will be instituting new restrictions on sexual content, including prohibiting “compensated sexual relationships (i.e., sugar dating).” This will change the company’s inappropriate content policy which already prohibits apps that promote sex-related entertainment or escort services.
Android users can still search for and download sugar dating apps in the Google Play Store, for now at least. According to a Wednesday announcement about the policy changes, Google is giving all new and existing apps a 30 day grace period starting today to adhere to their policy changes.
The dating app category in the Google Play Store lists multiple apps specifically intended for casual sex or sugar dating, a number of which rank amongst its top applications. SeekingArrangement, which is known for sugar dating, ranks 34th in the category with one million downloads. Other apps such as Sugar Daddy Meet, Millionaire Dating App, or SDM: Dating App for Seeking Pure Local Arrangement each have thousands of downloads.
Some apps that are used for sugar dating arrangements already prohibit users from promoting escort services on their platform.
The current inappropriate content policy already impacts Android users’ access to certain apps. OnlyFans, the mega-popular platform primarily used for selling nudes, is currently not available for download on the Google Play Store even though it is not solely used for pornography.
It's worth noting that even when Google blocks sugar dating applications from its Play Store, sugar dating or compensated sexual arrangements can still occur on any dating app, including Tinder.
“As a platform we are always excited to support our developer partners, but we also work hard to provide a safe experience for users,” Google told Motherboard. “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.”
Update: This post has been updated with comment from Google.
Correction: This story previously attributed a statement from Google as coming from Apple. Motherboard regrets the error.