What Does Google Have Against Polyamory?

Polyamorous dating app #Open was removed from the Google Play Store last month. Its founders would like to know why.

#Open app logo
Why was the #Open app banned from the Google Play Store?

Despite the internet’s reputation as a virtual all-you-can-eat porn buffet, it’s become increasingly clear in recent years that the World Wide Web isn’t actually a particularly hospitable place for sex, especially not sex that deviates in any way from social norms. Polyamorous dating app #Open became the latest victim of the internet’s ongoing war on sex last month when the platform was removed from the Google Play Store for allegedly violating Google’s “Sexual Content and Profanity policy.”

In an open letter to Google penned late last month, #Open creators Amanda Wilson and David Epstein revealed that the app was removed from Google’s app store for including the words “threesomes,” “3some,” “DTF” and “kinky dates.” These terms reportedly violate Google’s policy as they “imply sexual gratification.”

After removing the offending terms — with the exception of “threesomes,” which the #Open founders left in the description out of necessity due to the app’s literal purpose, as well as “to see exactly how arbitrary this suspension really was” — the app was eventually reinstated to the Google Play store, “without any notice or communication from Google,” following a nine-day suspension.

#Open contends the app’s suspension from Google was both arbitrary and hypocritical, as the Google Play Store has allowed other apps to use similar terms, including another poly dating app that uses the word “threesome” in its title.

“[That app] is obviously not getting censored for the same word we’re using,” Wilson told Paper. “And OkCupid had a whole campaign around ‘DTF.’ It makes no sense.”

Moreover, Wilson and Epstein claim the suspension significantly damaged their business, costing #Open an estimated 2,000 potential new members over the course of the nine-day suspension, as well as causing the app to lose its position as the number one dating app to appear in searches for “polyamory.”

“We’ve worked hard to gain these rankings to help us drive downloads,” the #Open founders wrote. “For a small business and team, these damages are not insignificant.”

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