Apple has clarified its new App Store guidelines restricting certain “hookup” apps won’t target gay apps like Grindr and Scruff after outrage and confusion online.
This week, the tech giant unveiled its upcoming iOS 15 operating system at its keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).
The company also issued new regulations for its App Store. One of them sparked serious alarm on social media.
Apple’s guidelines let app developers know what kind of behaviour and activity the company will and won’t allow in their iPhone and iPad apps.
And among the tweaks to the guidelines, Apple is tightening rules against apps with “pornographic” content.
In the “Safety” section, the vaguely-worded guideline 1.1.4 singles out “hookup” apps that “may include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution [sic]”.
“Overtly sexual or pornographic material [as] defined by Webster’s Dictionary as ‘explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings’,” the guideline reads.
— Jackie Ess (@jackie_ess) June 8, 2021
As a result, cue the freakouts on social media.
“Apple: in celebration of pride month we’re going to ban grindr!!” one person tweeted.
Another also wrote, “Apple banning Grindr. I can’t wait for my cruising era.”
Apple clarifies new rules target ‘scam apps’ posing as dating apps
However Apple has addressed the confusion, clarifying the rule won’t impact “legitimate” dating and hookup apps.
A spokesperson confirmed to tech site Appleinsider that the new guidelines won’t target gay dating and hookup apps.
The new guideline “won’t impact” popular gay apps such as Grindr or Scruff, the company stated.
Instead, Apple clarified the guideline was introduced to “stop the proliferation of apps that weren’t actually legitimate dating platforms”, according to Appleinsider.
The new guidelines seek to block apps that use hookups “as a cover for pornography, prostitution, or human trafficking”.
The company has always blocked such apps. Apple confirmed to the outlet the new guidelines strengthen existing rules around pornography and sex work.
Apple explained the company made the change to stop “recent scam app developments” before they spread through the App Store.
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