Apple boots 'Tinder for anti-vaxxers' off the App Store
Mainstream dating platforms, including Tinder and Bumble, have teamed up with government agencies to encourage users to get vaccinated. In May this year a similar app called Unjected, described as "Tinder for anti-vaxxers", was launched. Following a recent report by Bloomberg, Apple decided to kick the app from the App Store for violating its COVID-19 policies and bypassing the App Store review process.
Unjected launched in May to help unvaccinated people connect
Unjected touts itself as "a safe space for the unvaccinated to come together uncensored through business, friendship, or love." Reports suggest that the app was launched in May after rival dating apps began to boost the visibility of profiles with vaccination badges. The app also allows people to find businesses and services that voice sentiments against COVID-19 vaccination.
Unjected co-founder Shelby Thomson explains the app's purpose
Speaking to Yahoo in June, Unjected co-founder Shelby Thomson said, "If a business is looking for an unvaccinated employee they can post that listing there or if someone is looking for an unvaccinated doctor they can find them on the app."
Apple booted Unjected off App Store after 'Bloomberg' report
Unjected also takes a dig at vaccinated people. The app's Google Play Store description falsely claims that people have experienced "adverse events after being exposed to the Vaccinated." Bloomberg's report published on Saturday analyzed how Apple and Google handled COVID-19 misinformation on Unjected. After this report, Apple kicked Unjected off the App Store for violating its COVID-19 policies.
Apple refused to host Unjected, changed stance after developers cooperated
Apple confirmed that Unjected had been removed because it "inappropriately refers to the Covid-19 pandemic in its concept or theme." Apple originally refused to host Unjected on App Store after an initial review since it did not provide credible health and safety information from reputable sources (like government agencies and medical institutions). However, the app was approved after it made changes to comply.
Unjected asked users to avoid using words like 'vaccine', 'jabbed'
After making changes, "the developer has made statements externally to its users as well as updates to the app that once again bring it out of compliance," Apple said. However, Apple claimed Unjected encouraged users to avoid words like "vaccine," "jabbed," and "microchip" to avoid detection. According to Apple, this is an attempt to get around App Store's review processes, thereby violating Apple's policies.
Presently, Google's Play Store hosts Unjected. The app had recently introduced a social feed featuring user-generated content including claims that the vaccines were "experimental mRNA gene modifiers" and "nano-technology microchips." Google threatened to remove the app if the content wasn't deleted. The founders removed the social feed although one claimed that the feature and posts will be reinstated, hoping to "stay under the radar."
Unjected's thoughts on Google and Apple's decisions
Commenting on Google's move, Thompson said, "We've had to walk a censorship tightrope." Meanwhile, Unjected said, "We are a respectful group of people supporting...medical autonomy and freedom of choice, and...we believe their unjust censorship policy's on Google and Apple violates our constitutional rights (sic)."