Google bans 'sugar daddy' apps from Play Store

The company is also adding new restrictions on apps targeting children.
Google is also adding new restrictions on apps targeting children. Photo credit: Play Store

Google is banning sugar dating and sugar daddy apps from its Play Store as part of its new restrictions on sexual content.

The change, reported by Android Police, specifically bans apps offering paid sexual relationships and mentions "sugar dating" as an example.

Sugar dating involves older, well-off individuals - typically men - dating younger people while spending money in exchange for sexual favours or company.

The new rule comes into force from September 1.

The Play Store already forbids apps offering services that may "be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation", but this update makes it far more explicit.

And there is no shortage of apps that are going to be impacted by the new rules.

A cursory search of the Play Store shows a large number of apps that, while not specifically mentioning sexual relationships, do emphasise the wealth of its users and use language like "seeking arrangement relationships" to get around the current ban.

"If you're looking for an arrangement - namely, a distinguished and wealthy older man interested in dating a beautiful young woman (or vice versa), then sugar dating is what you really want," one says.

Another offers "CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs, investors, financiers, doctors, lawyers, billionaires to celebrities, professional athletes, models, actors, and so on, every hookup arrangement you have will be unique".

A similar search on Apple's iOS store showed only three apps advertising sugar dating-type services, with the majority of results for general dating apps.

Android Police notes that just five of the more popular apps have over a million installs with most having high quality ratings.

Google is also introducing new policies that will close inactive and abandoned developer accounts after a year of not being used as well as adding new restrictions on apps that target children.