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Google bans 'sugar' dating apps, but not Tinder (Update: Google statement)

Update: Google has issued a statement explaining the removal of sugar daddy apps from the Play Store.

Published onJuly 30, 2021

Seeking Arrangement Sugar Daddy App
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Google just recently updated and refined some of its Play Store policies, and now sugar daddy apps are banned.
  • The policy takes effect September 1, 2021, and could affect popular apps like Seeking Arrangement and Spoil.
  • A “sugar” relationship is one in which there is money or gifts exchanged for companionship. This new policy does not affect other apps in which relationships like these could be obtained, such as Tinder.

Update, July 30, 2021 (10:50 AM ET): Google has issued a response to Android Police’s original article on the banning of sugar daddy apps. The response is below:

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.

Essentially, Google is saying it doesn’t want apps that “facilitate sexual acts in exchange for compensation” on the Play Store. This likely means that sugar daddy apps will need to take the route of Seeking Arrangement and keep their true nature as vague as possible. After all, if it’s just a dating app that connects people of different wealth categories, that wouldn’t fall under Google’s explanation here.

Of course, this still doesn’t address the fact that sugar relationships can happen on all types of apps, including Tinder and even Instagram.

Original article, July 29, 2021 (12:58 PM ET): There are hundreds (if not thousands) of dating apps on the Google Play Store. You probably already know the heavy hitters, such as Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid. You might not know about some other apps, though, such as Seeking Arrangement, Elite, or Spoil.

See also: The best dating apps for Android

That’s because those last three apps are so-called sugar daddy apps. A “sugar” relationship is defined as incentivized companionship. A common example is a young woman dating an older, wealthy man, with the man gifting expensive items or even cash to the woman. In that situation, the man would be called a sugar daddy. However, sugar mommies exist as well, and people who don’t want to throw genders onto everything just use the term “sugar.”

Google, however, doesn’t seem to approve of people procuring these arrangements through the Play Store. In a new policy change first spotted by Android Police, Google puts the hammer down on sugar daddy apps. The terminology change includes the removal of “compensated sexual relationships (i.e., sugar dating).” Google says this app category now falls under its Inappropriate Content policy.

As such, unless Google changes its mind, all sugar dating apps will go missing from the Play Store on September 1, 2021.

Tinder is also a sugar daddy app, Google

The problem with Google’s policy change here is that it appears to be overly selective. Yes, the Seeking Arrangement app, for example, lays out that it is a way to find “mutually beneficial relationships.” But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t also find those relationships on other apps, such as Tinder.

Chances are good that nearly every attractive woman on Tinder has been offered a sugar daddy arrangement through that app. Sure, maybe only a few actually follow through, but it certainly happens. But Google isn’t about to ban Tinder — we’re certain of that.

Ultimately, this policy change might just be a way for Google to crack down on apps that explicitly promote themselves as sugar daddy apps. The Seeking Arrangement app does not use the term “sugar” anywhere in its description, so it’s possible it won’t see a ban on September 1. Still, if you are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship, you might need to learn how to sideload Android apps come September.

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