According to the latest news, Google has announced that from 1st September onwards, ‘Sugar dating’ apps will not be allowed on the Android Play Store. This will be included in its series of policy changes for the platform. The upcoming changes were first reported by Android Police. They reported that the policy changes specifically prohibit apps relating to “compensated sexual relationships” and other notable changes include a new crackdown on inactive developer accounts.
Google’s Play Store policies already prohibit apps that promote “services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation” but the updated wording expands this definition to explicitly include “compensated dating or sexual arrangements where one participant is expected or implied to provide money, gifts or financial support to another participant (‘sugar dating’).”
Google does not mention why the apps are going to be taken down but it is to be noted that Google has taken this decision amidst a crackdown on online sex work by platforms following the introduction of the FOSTA-SESTA legislation in the US in 2018. It removes Section 230 protections for content that “promotes or facilitates prostitution.”
As far as other policy changes are concerned, developer accounts which are inactive for more than a year are going to be deleted. Google clarified that there will be exceptions for accounts behind apps with over a thousand installs or with recent in-app purchases. However, if a developer has not uploaded any app or signed into the Google Play Console over the course of 12 months then Google might delete it. In a video outlining the change, Google said it will notify developers 7, 30, and 60 days before deleting the account.
Note that the policy updates also offer more information on Google’s previously announced changes regarding Play Store spam. It also offers more information for opting out of the use of advertising IDs. Google will update its store listings and promotion policy on 29th September to ban “spam text and graphics in-app titles, icons and developer names” while the ads policy will be updated on 4th October.